How to give medicines
If your pharmacy does not have the correct weight or size of a medicine
You may have to give part of a pill, or more than one to get the right dose.
For example, if you only have 250 mg tablets
of amoxicillin and you are supposed to
give 500 mg each time, you must give
2 pills each time.
250 mg + 250 mg = 500 mg
Or, if you only have 500 mg tablets of amoxicillin
and you need to give 250 mg each time, you must cut each pill in half.
Dosing by weight
For most medicines in this book, we suggest doses that any adult woman can use.
But for some medicines, especially ones that can be dangerous, it is better to figure
out the dosage according to a person’s weight (if you have a scale).
For example, if you need to give gentamicin, and the dosage says 5 mg/kg/day,
this means that each day you would give 5 milligrams (mg)
of the medicine for each kilogram (kg) the person weighs.
So a 50 kg woman would receive 250 mg of gentamicin
during 24 hours.
This amount should be divided up into separate doses.
Dosage instructions will say how many times the medicine
should be given each day.
Gentamicin should be given 3 times a day so you would give
80 mg in each dose.
When to take medicines
Some medicines should be taken once a day. Most must be taken more often.
You do not need a clock. If the directions say:
“1 tablet every 8 hours” or “3 tablets a day” ��������������take 1 at sunrise, 1 in the afternoon,
and 1 at night.
“1 tablet every 6 hours” or “4 tablets a day” �������������take 1 in the morning, 1 at midday,
1 in the late afternoon, and 1 at night.
“1 tablet every 4 hours” �������������������������������������������������������������take 6 pills a day, allowing the same
amount of time between each pill.
This is because a medicine only works while it is in the body. After a certain
length of time, it passes out of the body. The person must take it regularly
throughout the day to keep enough medicine in her body. And taking too much at
once can cause poisoning.
A Book for Midwives (2010)