Decoding Drug Label Lingo

In order to take prescription drugs safely and appropriately, ensure that you follow the instructions to a tee.

Here are five common warning phrases found on the labels of drug bottles, and why it’s important to take heed of them.

1. “Take with a full glass of water”

Why: Water helps dilute drugs so they won’t irritate the esophagus or stomach lining. It also flushes them into the abdomen to disintegrate properly.

2. “Stay out of the sun”

Why: The drug increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunburn. If you usually burn in 20 minutes, it may take only 10 while on the drug.

3. “Avoid dairy”

Why: Calcium can delay drug absorption, and you therefore will not get the correct dose.

4. “Take with food”

Why: Food boosts absorption and helps reduce nausea.

5. “Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery”

Why: The drug makes you drowsy, dizzy or lightheaded, thus slowing down your reaction time and motor skills.

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