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The right way to take your medicine


Medicine should be used in the right way to give optimal effects on certain symptoms/illness and prevent unwanted effects. The right way to take your medicine is by following instructions on the label of medicine.

Medicine Label

Medicine label depends on medicine packaging received by the patient. For example, labels on medicine envelope and printed labels from the manufacturer.

These are seven important informations on a medicine label, as follows:

    1. Label on medicine envelope:
      • Name and address of supplier or seller (clinic or pharmacy)
      • Full name of medicine
      • Name of patient
      • Date of medicine being supplied or sold
      • Patient’s serial number on record book
      • Complete instruction on medicine usage
      • Label UBAT TERKAWAL/CONTROLLED MEDICINE (for controlled medicine only)


  1. Label on medicine:
    • Name of product
    • Ingredients
    • Storage condition
    • Route of administration
    • Manufacturing information
    • Warning
    • Instruction of medicine usage

Instruction of medicine usage

Contains further and elaborated explanation on how and when to take the medicine. Any special instruction would also included.

The right time to take your medicine will involve the frequency/number of time of the medicine should be taken. Generally, the dosing time of medicine follows the below application:

Occasionally,medicine label also include special instruction on taking your medicine.

  • Before meal

    This is to prevent any drug-food interaction. Besides, this can also increase the medicine absorption as it is taken when the stomach is empty. Examples are Insulin Actrapid Injection, Iron Tablet etc.

  • After meal

    This is to prevent stomach irritation. Therefore, the medicine should not be taken when the stomach is empty. Examples are Mefenamic Acid, Ranitidine et

  • Before / After meal

    Medicine can be taken at any time of the day regardless meal. The action and absorption of the medicine not interrupted by food. Examples are Paracetamol, Chorpheniramine etc.

  • With food

    The medicine must be taken together with meal, ie the 1st mouth of food. This helps better absorption and improve efficacy of the medicines. Examples are Acarbose, Calcium Carbonate etc.

  • Take only in the morning

    This is to avoid any disturbance to life style due to medicine”s side effects. For example, Frusemide may cause patient to urinate frequently. If taken at night, it may disturb patient during sleeping. However, if the patient is working at night, then it should be taken at night.

  • Take only at night

    Some medicines provide optimal effect at night. For example, Simvastatin should be taken before sleep. This is to tackle the increase in cholesterol synthesis at night.

  • Only take when necessary

    This normally apply to medicine that should only be taken when there is certain symptom or illness, ie pain killer .Examples are Paracetamol, Mefenamic Acid.

The right way to take medicine

Medicines are manufactured in many dosage forms such as tablet, cream, pessary,suppository, eye drops and others. Different preparations have different instruction of use. This is to ensure the medicine acts directly and effectively to certain system/organ and thus giving optimal effects on symptom or illness and prevent any unnecessary side effects.

Tips on taking your medicine

If you are pregnant, breast feeding or having any health problems, do consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine.

If you have any allergic, please ask for allergic card and always bring the card when seing a doctor, dentist or pharmacist.

If you are taking any health supplement products, traditional medicines or any medication, please inform your doctor or pharmacist.

If you do not understand the way of using your medicine, please don’t feel shy to ask the doctor or pharmacist about it. To ensure you are taking your medicine at the right time, use a suitable method, for example set a handphone reminder.

If you forget to take your medicine, please take immediately. However, don’t double up your dose if it is near to the next dose.

Use pill box with pharmacist’s advice to ease medicine consumption. Don’t share your medicine with anyone because the dose or medicine might not be suitable for everyone. The same symptoms might be due to a different disease.

Last Reviewed : 20 March 2015
Writer: : Kobu a/l Thiruvanackan
Translator : Hazlin bt. Othman
Accreditor: : Munira bt. Muhammad