From the pharmacist: When accuracy counts
Learn the proper way to measure and administer liquid medications.
Ever had a terrible cold, grabbed a bottle of cough syrup and taken a swig before collapsing back in bed? You may have done yourself more harm than good. Even over-the-counter (OTC) medications, when taken at higher than recommended doses, can cause dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures and more.
Liquids are a great option for anyone who has difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules. Generally, most liquid prescriptions are issued for children and the elderly. Numerous prescription meds and OTC products are available in liquid form. Prescription liquids are available to treat seizures, depression, ADHD, pain, infections and many other conditions.
It’s imperative to measure each dose properly. Avoid using household dinner spoons or other utensils. The amounts those items hold aren’t standardized and can be easy to spill.
Use the cup, dropper, dosing spoon or syringe that came with the medication, or the device the pharmacist included with the medication. If you have small children, and your oral syringe came with a cap, throw it away. There have been instances of children accidentally choking on caps. When using an oral syringe, avoid administering the medicine in the back of the throat as this may cause choking. Gently apply medicine to the side of the mouth beside the tongue so it will be easier to swallow.
When administering any medication, always double check the directions on the label and follow them exactly. Check measurements at eye level. When using a cup, measure on a flat surface, not your hand. Remember to thoroughly clean your dosing device after each use.
If you have any questions or doubts about how to measure or dose liquid medication,
call your pharmacist. We are always happy to help.
Eye drop basics
Our eyes don’t have extra space to hold liquid medications. Some conditions require several regularly used eye drops. Use these tips for effective application of eye medication:
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly
- Pull down your lower lid to create a small pocket for the drops
- Place only one drop into the pocket and avoid touching the dropper to the eye
- Gently close your eye for one to five minutes so the medication can spread evenly
- Give the medicine time to absorb, at least five minutes between drops
- Replace the cap on the bottle to ensure the dropper stays clean