Medication Dosage: 6 Common Mistakes

Health Tips

But let’s be honest: first of all, who among us has not bought drugs without a prescription? And secondly, which of us has not had to discover that what is written in the prescription differs too much from what is written in the instructions for the drug? Here are six mistakes that literally everyone makes:

1. Reduce dosage

Well, it’s clear: the less chemistry, the healthier we will be. You can be a frequenter of Google, read the instructions and mentally calculate how many mg of the active ingredient of the pill are for each kg of your body … But if you do not know the principle of the drug, then it would be better for you not to adjust the dosage yourself. This applies to absolutely all tablets, potions and even sprays. Just the example of contraceptives is most obvious.

The principle of action of hormonal contraceptives is to suppress ovulation. Therefore, it does not matter at all how many spermatozoa encroach on your egg – one or a million. If the egg comes out of the follicle – conception is possible, if it does not come out – no. One tablet contains a dose of hormones sufficient to suppress ovulation. It is impossible to suppress ovulation by half, a quarter, or suppress it twice. The pill does not kill sperm. Therefore, biting into it or taking two for reliability is not only useless, but also harmful.

2. Cracking pills

If the tablets can be broken, notches are applied to them, dividing the circle into two or four sectors. If there are no notches, then you can’t divide! If you need a smaller dosage, look for another packaging. There are usually two reasons why a manufacturer won’t let you break pills:

  • the active substance is destroyed by gastric juice, and it must be delivered to the intestines – and the shell covering the tablet from above protects it until the drug reaches its destination;
  • there is more than one active ingredient in a tablet – and it is rather problematic to guarantee their uniform distribution throughout the circle: when breaking, it may turn out that everything is in one half and nothing in the other.

In general, if the manufacturer has made it so that the tablet cannot be broken, then it is also not worth biting it, cutting it with a knife or crushing it into powder.

3. Greedy

10 50mg tablets usually cost less than 20 25mg tablets. And very often, for reasons of economy, we take those that are larger, with the intention of taking half a tablet. Sometimes this can be done. And sometimes you may come across pills from paragraph 2 – and you will not be able to use them. Therefore, either study the instructions in advance (on the Internet, for example), or … The miser pays twice.

4. Change the appointment schedule

Even the most naive understand that if the doctor prescribed one tablet three times a day for two weeks, this does not mean that you can drink 42 tablets at once. Many, however, admit that you can take three tablets in the morning, so that later you don’t have to think about anything. And very many – that if it gets better, then you can switch from a three-time dose to a two-time one. But the fact is that different substances reach the maximum level of concentration in the blood and are excreted at different times. If your doctor gave you pills three times a day, then most likely they last eight hours, and then you need to take the next dose. If you switch to a double dose, then you will have a rather large “uncovered” period – and the disease will not fail to take advantage of it.

5. Don’t read the instructions

And what is there to read, since the doctor prescribed? With all due respect, doctors are people too – sometimes they make mistakes. And it may, for example, turn out that the prescription says that the pills should be taken three times a day, and the instructions – two. This is not so bad: the number of tablets prescribed by the doctor may exceed the limit, which is indicated in the instructions by the words “maximum daily dose”. For example, the maximum daily dose of a certain substance (according to the instructions) is 60 mg. You have been prescribed 30 mg tablets three times a day (i.e. 90 mg per day). Maybe, of course, you are overweight – and the doctor takes this circumstance into account. But maybe he was wrong: either the tablets should be 20 mg each, or they should be taken not three, but twice a day. Will have to go back and ask again.

6. Neglect age

Of course, everyone understands that children are prescribed smaller doses than adults, and for babies up to a year old, they are completely calculated according to the dosage per kilogram of weight.

Many believe that the elderly (over 60) also require a lower dose than able-bodied adults. This is important for only some drugs. Antipsychotics, analgesics and hypnotics are usually prescribed at a dose half as much as usual. And antibiotics – in the same doses as middle-aged people.

Photo: istock

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