478 Common Medicines
Medicines fight disease but can also cause other effects
to happen in the body. Some are harmless but annoying.
Others are harmful. For example, metronidazole makes your
mouth taste bad, which is annoying but harmless. Some very
strong antibiotics, such as gentamicin and kanamycin, can
cause permanent harm to your kidneys and hearing if too
much is taken.
Before you take a medicine, find out what the possible side
effects are. When using the medicines in this book you can
look at the “Green Pages” to learn about possible side effects.
IMPORTANT If you have unusual signs such as dizziness, ringing in
the ears, or fast breathing, and these are not listed as side effects for
the drug you are taking, see a health worker trained in giving medicines.
These signs can mean that you are taking too much medicine.
Some medicines have specific warnings you should learn
about. But you should check with a health worker before
taking the medicine if:
• you are taking other medicines. Medicines that are
safe when taken alone can be harmful when taken with
another medicine, or they can be made weaker.
• giving medicine to a child. Children have smaller bodies
and may need to take less medicine. Check with a
pharmacist or health worker for the right dose for a child.
• you are older. Older people sometimes need smaller
doses because medicine will stay in their bodies longer.
• you are very small, thin or poorly nourished. You
may need a smaller dose of some medicines, such as
medicines for tuberculosis, high blood pressure, and seizures
and other problems.
Information you should know
Food and medicine
With most medicine, you can continue eating the foods
you normally eat. Some medicines work better if you take
them when your stomach is empty—one hour before or two
hours after eating.
Medicines that upset the stomach should be taken with
food or just after eating.
If you have nausea or vomiting, take the medicine with a
dry food that calms the stomach—like rice, bread, or a biscuit.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012