Occasionally, medications are completed with documentation, where there is a section adapted specifically for patients. There is only available what is really important to know for every person before starting treatment. More often, unfortunately, the instruction is written in furious language at once for everyone: pharmacologists, doctors, inspection organizations, and only in the last place – for the buyer. It makes sense to read it in its entirety only when you have prescribed the drug yourself. If the medicine is recommended by a doctor, you should focus on only a few points, and run the rest diagonally.
Section “Indications for use”
Only necessary if you are looking for a medicine on your own, without a doctor. The list of indications for which the doctor prescribes a specific drug can be much wider than that indicated in the instructions. This is normal.
Sections “Contraindications” and “With caution”
This should be read carefully. There you can find a disease or condition that was not told to the doctor or told, but he did not take into account and prescribed. Faced such a problem – discuss it with your doctor! If he is mistaken, then he will select a permitted analogue. If you deliberately chose this drug, you must explain your decision. There are cases when the drug is used, despite the existing contraindications, and this is a common practice.
The most common example is the treatment of children and pregnant women. Clinical trials on them are very rare for ethical reasons, and all drugs that have not been tested are contraindicated. However, there is a wide range of drugs that have been traditionally used in pediatrics or obstetrics for a very long time without any adverse effects. Only rare of these drugs are re-registered and the clause on contraindications for pregnant women or children is removed from the instructions.
Another example is that a medicine is necessary and has no safe analogues, and the potential harm from taking it can be minimized with the help of additional prescriptions. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs are contraindicated for gastritis and stomach ulcers, but if necessary, they are prescribed under the guise of proton pump inhibitors. In this case, the second drug protects the stomach from the harmful effects of the first and, in general, the desired therapeutic effect is achieved. In any case, prescribing a medicine contrary to contraindications is an exception to which only a doctor has the right, and you must be warned about this.
Section “Method of administration and dosage”
In this section, pay attention to the rules of admission: before meals, during or instead of, at what time of the day or night, chew or swallow whole, etc. If the manufacturer specifies such features, then they significantly affect the absorption of the drug and its effectiveness. The doctor may recommend a special medication regimen that differs from the standard one. However, he should write this in the guidelines.
Section “Side effects”
It acts as self-hypnosis on sensitive people: after reading, all the adverse effects on the list appear. Therefore, it is better to find out about side effects from a doctor, and not from instructions. As a rule, the doctor will tell you 1-2 of the most significant and actually occurring in practice side effects that you should pay attention to. The instructions also indicate all the undesirable reactions that were noted during treatment with all drugs with the same active substance. Even at the stage of clinical trials of the drug, any deterioration in well-being is recorded, even if it is noted in one, and the remaining 10,000 people feel great. It is quite possible that the recorded symptom is not even related to taking the drug, it was just that there was a storm in the sun or there were other reasons. However, according to the rules, this case will be recorded in the research protocol, and then transferred to the instruction. Hence, in the list of “side effects” often appear contradicting each other: diarrhea and constipation, drowsiness and insomnia, increased and decreased blood pressure, as well as the ubiquitous headaches and dizziness.
Section “Special instructions”
It is written specifically for patients and contains recommendations for self-control, restrictions during treatment and warnings when it is imperative to see a doctor.
Section “Storage conditions”
It is usually important for liquid dosage forms, as well as for ointments, gels and suppositories. Tablets and capsules can generally be stored without much hassle.