Measuring prescription medication for your child

Nearly all small children are prescribed liquid medication until they are old enough to swallow capsules. As a result, it’s important that adults be informed about the proper way to dispense the medication and protect their children’s health. According to the FDA, some of the most common types of dosing instruments include:

Dosage cups: These cups are designed for children who are old enough to drink from a cup without spilling. Adults should be sure to look carefully at the small numbers printed on the side of the cup to determine the correct fill level. Medicine should then be poured to that exact level when the cup is sitting on a flat surface.
Droppers: These are geared toward children who cannot drink from a cup, and require the adult to squeeze the proper amount of medication into the child’s mouth. Like the dosage cups, medicine must be brought to the exact line on the side of the dropper that was recommended by a doctor. Adults should squeeze the liquid quickly out of the dropper so it cannot fall on the floor before it gets into the child’s mouth.
Cylindrical dosage spoons: These spoons look like a large straw with a spoon at one end and are used for children who can drink from a cup, but are likely to spill. In this case, adults should again fill the liquid to the appropriate marked line and be sure it is even at eye level. Children then drink the medicine from the spoon.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your child’s prescription medication. It’s important to be educated so you can protect the health of your young child.

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Questions to ask about child prescriptions

If your child needs medication to recover from an illness, talk to your True Dental Discounts prescription plan doctor about the medicine she has prescribed before you take it home. Some questions to ask include:

  • What exactly is the drug? What does it prevent or do?
  • How often does my child need to take this medication? In what dosage?
  • What side effects come with taking this medication? Should I be alert for any changes in condition?
  • How soon after taking the medication will it start working?
  • What if my child skips a dose?
  • How long should I continue giving my child this medicine?
  • Should I continue administering the remaining medication, even if the child appears to be recovered?
  • Could this medication possibly interfere with another medication my child currently takes?

This prescription can cause what?

Television commercials for prescription drugs today are filled with disclaimers about the risks of side effects. All drugs – even aspirin – have side effects, but they range from minor and slightly irritating to very serious. According to pharmacist Jim Morelli, the most common side effects of medication involve the gastrointestinal system (such as upset stomachs). Fortunately, the FDA must approve all new drugs released on the market to protect consumers and weigh the benefits vs. risks of each medication. However, many side effects are not known until after the product has been released. Because of this, the FDA recently mandated that all dispensed prescriptions (as well as many over-the-counter medications) must be labeled with a toll-free number. This number gives anyone the opportunity to report adverse effects they experience from taking the medication.

The risk of side effects alone should not discourage people from taking medicine that is necessary for their health, so talk to your True Dental Discounts doctor or pharmacist about any potential effects of prescriptions you’ve been taking. He or she can explain the benefits vs. risks of each drug and show you how to prevent certain irritating symptoms such as dry mouth. If you do happen to notice adverse effects from your prescriptions, it is important to tell your doctor because he or she can help you find a different prescription that works best for your body and your overall health.

How does the FDA determine the safety of a particular drug?

Before approving a drug for use in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration tests it to determine its risks and benefits. The company that created the drug must submit data about the tests it has conducted in the laboratory and in people to prove that the drug has a real health benefit. If the FDA determines that the drug does, in fact, have a health benefit, they will then weigh that benefit with any possible risks or side effects of the drug.

The FDA compares the frequency and seriousness of any side effects to the seriousness of the disease being treated. Generally, very serious and rare diseases, like cancer, are permitted to be treated with drugs that have more risky side effects. If it is indeed determined that the benefits are shown to outweigh the risks in proportion with the seriousness of the condition, then the FDA will allow the drug to be sold/used in the U.S.

Listing your medications

One of the smartest things a person can do in regard to their prescription health is to make a list of all the medications, dietary supplements and vitamins that they take, according to the FDA. This list should include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Then, take this list with you to all of your doctor’s appointments. Doctors will be able to check the list before prescribing another medication that could possibly conflict with one you are already taking or that has the same active ingredient. Update this list every time you add or stop taking another medicine, including herbal supplements. The FDA suggests that it’s also a good idea to keep this list on your person at all times, or at least tell your emergency contact where it is in your house.

This way, in case of an emergency, doctors and medical personnel will be able to immediately know what medicines you are taking. One final tip is to do a “brown bag checkup.” This involves putting all of your prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in a bag to show to your doctor at your next appointment. He or she can check the bag to ensure your medicines work together safely and effectively. If you need help keeping track of your current medications, the FDA offers a chart online that will organize and categorize your prescriptions. If you have any questions about your medication or the interactions of your various prescriptions, talk to your doctor. It’s always better to stay informed than be left in the dark when it comes to your prescription health.