Although medicines are meant to improve our health, they can also be dangerous especially when they are not taken correctly.
If you have any concerns about your medicine and how to use or take it correctly, it is advisable to contact your doctor so as to avoid any side effects.
Various types of medicines can be taken in different ways depending on:
- The part of the body being treated
- The way the drug works within the body
- The patient’s symptoms
Forms of medicines
This are medicines where the active part of the medicine is combined with a liquid to make it easier to take or better absorbed. A liquid may also be called a ‘mixture’, ‘solution’ or ‘syrup’
Pills are taken orally (by mouth). The oral route is considered the most convenient, safest and least expensive. The active ingredient is combined with another substance and pressed into a round or oval solid shape.
Capsules are also taken orally. The active part of the medicine is contained inside a plastic shell that dissolves slowly in the stomach.
Drops are often used where the active part of the medicine works best if it reaches the affected area directly. They are mainly used in the ears, eyes or nose.
5. Topical medicines
These include creams, gels, or ointments that are applied directly into the skin. They come in tubs, bottles or tubes depending on the type of medicine.
The active part of the medicine is mixed with another substance, making it easy to apply to the skin.
The active part of the medicine is released under pressure directly into the lungs. They are accepted as the most effective way of treating breathing problems such as asthma and COPD. With inhalers, the medication reaches the airways in the lungs directly, exactly where it has to act, in a matter of seconds and provides relief.
7. Patches and implants
Some drugs are delivered throughout the body through a patch on the skin. These drugs are sometimes mixed with a chemical (such as alcohol) that enhances penetration through the skin into the bloodstream without any injection.
Patches include nicotine patches for help in giving up smoking, or contraceptive implants.
There are different types of injection, in how and where they’re injected. Subcutaneous or SC injections are given just under the surface of the skin. Intramuscular or IM injections are given into a muscle. Intrathecal injections are given into the fluid around the spinal cord. Intravenous or IV injections are given into a vein.
In this form, a drug is mixed with a waxy substance that dissolves or liquefies after it is inserted into the rectum. Because the rectum’s wall is thin and its blood supply rich, the drug is readily absorbed.
A suppository is prescribed for people who cannot take a drug orally because they have nausea, cannot swallow, or have restrictions on eating, as is required before and after many surgical operations.
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