474 Common Medicines
how to give an
Medicine comes in different forms
Medicines come in many different forms:
• Tablets, capsules and liquids are usually taken by mouth.
In some cases (rarely) they may need to be used in the
vagina or rectum.
• Inserts (suppositories, pessaries) are made so they can be
put into the vagina or the rectum.
• Injections are given with a needle directly into a person’s
muscle, under the skin, or into the blood.
• Creams, ointments, or salves that contain medicine
are applied directly to the skin or in the vagina.
They can be very useful for mild skin infections, sores,
rashes, and itching.
Which kind of medicine, and how much of it you take
depends on what is available and on the disease you are
trying to treat.
How much medicine to take
How to measure medicine
Many medicines, especially antibiotics, come in different weights and sizes.
To be sure you are taking the right amount, check how many grams, milligrams,
micrograms, or Units each pill or capsule contains. If the pharmacy does not
have the weight or size you need, you may have to take part of a pill, or more
Here are some helpful symbols to know:
= means equal to or the same as
+ means and or plus
1+ 1 =
One plus one equals
Fractions. Doses that are less than one whole tablet or pill are sometimes
written as fractions:
1 tablet = one whole tablet =
½ tablet = half of a tablet =
If you are not sure you
have the right dose, ask
someone who is good at
numbers to help you.
1 ½ tablet = one and one-half tablets =
¼ tablet = one quarter or one-fourth of a tablet =
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