Before you start using any medicine, read the package insert. A package insert is a paper or a booklet found inside the package of a medication that provides information about the drug manufacturer, drug use, and its side effects. It is very important to read and understand the instructions on the package insert before you can start using the medication because it lists important information about the drug.
Medicine package inserts usually contain the following information:
1. Drug Prescribing Information – It is the most important part because it provides the reference to relevant and detailed information about the drug.
2. Recent Changes – These are new changes made such as a boxed warning, dosage, usage, warning, or precautions for a drug.
3. Description – This section describes the chemical makeup and chemical name of the drug, its form whether tablet, capsule, or liquid, and how it should be taken by mouth or injection.
4. Clinical Pharmacology – This describes how the drug will be processed in your body and how your body will get rid of it.
5. Indications and Usage – This section provide information on the uses for which the drug is meant.
6. Contraindications – This information describes who should use and who should not a particular drug, such as, due to allergic conditions or drug-drug interaction that may negatively impact a patient’s health.
7. Warnings – This section provides information on drug side effects that you should pay attention to to help recognize any serious problem if it can occur.
8. Adverse Reactions – These are all side effects reported by hundreds of people on using that specific drug.
9. Drug Interactions – These are lists of warnings on the effects of using the drug with other products such as alcohol and food.
10. Use in Specific Populations – This section tells whether the drug is safe for certain groups in a population such as children, pregnant mothers, or older people.
11. Over-dosage – This describes the effects of using an overdose of the drug, its risks, and how to treat the drug overdose.
12. Nonclinical Toxicology – This section is very important, it describes the futuristic effect of the drug such as, if it can cause cancer, cell changes, or mutation, or if it alters the ability to become pregnant.
13. Dosage and Administration – This section guides on the recommended doses for an individual and instructs on whether the medication should be used before or after a meal.
14. How Supplied – This section describes the drug including its strengths, color, and forms such as capsule or ointment.
15. Clinical Studies – These are the test results that have been done to make sure the medicine is safe for humans and is purely for the intended purposes.
16. Storage and Handling – This guides on how you should store the drug for example in a cool dry place, away from children, or in a dark place.
17. References – These are lists for more scientific information on the drug.
If you have any questions about a medication, it is important to ask your health care provider or pharmacist for answers and surety.