How to take oral medications properly

The most common way people take medications is orally (by mouth). Depending on what your doctor prescribed, your oral medication can be swallowed, chewed, or placed under your tongue to dissolve.

Medications that you swallow travel from your stomach or intestine into your bloodstream and then are carried to all parts of your body. This process is known as absorption. The speed with which absorption occurs depends on several factors:

  • The type of medication you are taking (e.g., liquid or tablet)
  • Whether you take your medication with food, after food or on an empty stomach
  • The ability of your medication to pass into your bloodstream (Some medications have a special coating and dissolve slowly in your stomach.)
  • How your medication reacts with the acid conditions in your stomach
  • Whether your medication interacts with other medications you are taking at the same time

If a quick effect is desired, your doctor may prescribe a medication that will dissolve in your mouth and rapidly enter your bloodstream.

Tablets and capsules

In general, you should take tablets and capsules with water. Taking certain pills, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Viagra (sildenafil), with grapefruit juice can cause potentially dangerous side effects. Milk can block the absorption of many antibiotics, such as Cipro (ciprofloxacin).

Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you whether to take your medication on an empty stomach or before or after eating. This information is very important because digesting food can interfere with your medication dissolving and passing into your bloodstream. Always follow the directions on your prescription.

Never break, crush, or chew any capsule or tablet unless directed to by your doctor or pharmacist. Many medications are long-acting or have a special coating and must be swallowed whole. If you have any questions about this, ask your pharmacist.

If you have trouble swallowing your medication, tell your doctor and pharmacist. They may be able to provide you with a liquid form of the medication or a pill that is smaller and easier to swallow.

Liquid medications

Liquid medications are good for children and adults (especially older adults) who are not able to swallow tablets or capsules.

Many liquid medications, including both prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs, are made for children and are flavored to mask the taste of the medication.

Before measuring the proper dose of liquid medication, make sure to shake the bottle as some of the medication may have “settled” at the bottom.

Most often, you’ll be given medication measurements in teaspoons (remember that teaspoons are smaller than tablespoons). In medicine, a teaspoon means exactly 5 milliliters (ml).

Your household teaspoons may hold more or less than 5 ml. Ask your pharmacist for a spoon, medicine cup, medicine dropper, or a syringe without a needle meant specifically for measuring medications. They can show you how to properly use these.

Many over-the-counter liquid medications come with a small medicine cup attached to the top of the bottle.

If the medication has been prescribed for an infant or young child, make sure to speak with your pediatrician about the proper dosage, or amount, of liquid medication for your child.

Sublingual and Buccal Medications

Certain medications are placed under the tongue (sublingual) or between the teeth and the cheek (buccal). These medications are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth and are used to relieve symptoms almost immediately.

Some examples of sublingual medications are Nitrostat and other nitroglycerin preparations used to treat angina (chest pain) and Suboxone (buprenorphine with naloxone), which is used to treat dependence on heroin and/or narcotic painkillers.

Other forms of oral medications

Although most oral medications are swallowed, some are released in the mouth by chewing, dissolving slowly or melting on the tongue. Many of these medications are sold over-the-counter.

  • Chewable tablets

Chewable tablets should be chewed until they have completely dissolved. They’re not meant to be swallowed whole.

Examples of chewable tablets include Tylenol Chewable and many brands of children’s vitamins.

  • Chewing gum medications

Chewing gum medications have a minimum time that they must be chewed to ensure that the entire amount of drug has been released, often up to 30 minutes.

Examples of medicated chewing gums include Nicorette Gum (nicotine) and Aspergum (aspirin).

  • Lozenges

Lozenges are meant to be “sucked” on like hard candy and allowed to dissolve slowly in your mouth. They should not be swallowed.

Examples of medicated lozenges include Commit (nicotine) and Cepacol (benzocaine).

  • Softchew medications

Softchew medications are meant to melt in your mouth or to be chewed.

An example of a Softchew medication is Rolaids Soft Chew (calcium carbonate).

Source: VERY WELL HEALTH

About STELLA

Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The company is globally recognized for its quality through our facilities have been audited and approved by stringent authority like EMA, PMDA, Taiwan GMP, local WHO and others.

Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
A: 40 Tu Do Avenue, Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park, An Phu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
T: +84 274 376 7470 | F: +84 274 376 7469 | E: info@stellapharm.com | W: www.stellapharm.com

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