How to take medicines safely
• Take the full amount.
• Do not take too much.
• Avoid taking more than 1 medicine
at the same time.
• Know and watch for signs
• Know as much as you can
about a medicine.
Take the full amount
Many medicines, particularly antibiotics (see page 470) must be taken for a
number of days to work. A woman who is taking medicines
must take them for the full number of days she is supposed
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to — even if she feels better before then. This is because the
medicine kills the weakest germs first and takes longer to
kill the stronger germs. If some germs are not killed, the
infection may come back. And because these stronger germs
are harder to kill, the drug may not work to fight the disease
anymore — for the individual woman who did not take her
full amount of medicine, or for others in the community who
get sick with the same disease. This is called drug resistance.
Would the pain
go away if I
Do not take too much
Some people think that taking more medicine will
heal the body faster. This is not true and can be
dangerous! If you take too much medicine
at one time or take a medicine too often,
it may cause serious harm. See page 466.
Never take more
medicine than the
Avoid taking more than 1 medicine at the same time
Some medicines can stop other medicines from working. Some medicines cause
problems when they are taken with other medicines.
Avoid combination medicines (2 or more medicines in 1 tablet). Some
combination medicines are necessary, but they usually cost more, and you may be
putting medicine in your body that you do not need. For example, some eye drops
and eye ointments contain both antibiotics and steroids. The steroids can be
harmful. Combination medicines can also cause more side effects.
Know and watch for signs of problems with a medicine
Many medicines have side effects. These are unintended effects of the
medicine that are annoying or uncomfortable. Common side effects
are nausea, stomach aches, headaches, or sleepiness.
A Book for Midwives (2010)