Using the Medicines in this Book 475
Kinds of measurements
Grams and milligrams. Medicine is usually weighed in grams (g) and milligrams (mg):
1000 mg = 1 g (one thousand milligrams makes one gram)
1 mg = .001 g (one milligram is one-thousandth part of a gram)
One aspirin tablet
has 325 milligrams
All of these are
different ways to
say 325 milligrams.
Micrograms. Some medicines, such as family planning pills, are weighed in
milligrams or even smaller amounts called micrograms (mcg or µcg):
1 µcg = 1 mcg = 1/1000 mg (0.001 mg)
This means there are 1000
micrograms in a milligram.
Units. Some medicines are measured in Units (U) or international units (IU).
For liquid medicine: Sometimes instructions for syrups or suspensions tell you
to take a specific amount, for example, 10 ml or 10 milliliters or 10 cc (cubic
centimeters). A cubic centimeter is the same as a milliliter. If the medicine
does not come with a special spoon or dropper to measure liquid, you can use
1 tablespoon = 1 Tb = 15 ml
1 teaspoon = 1 tsp = 5 ml
So, for example:
Amoxicillin tablets come in 2 sizes:
If you need to take: ‘amoxicillin 500 mg
1 tablet 2 times a day’, but you only have
250 mg tablets, you need to take 2 tablets
250 mg + 250 mg = 500 mg
Dosing by weight
In this book we have given dosages for adult women. 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
take 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 depending on how many times it is given each
day. Gentamicin is given 3 times a day so you would give 80 mg in the morning,
80 mg in the afternoon, and 80 mg in the evening.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012