Have you ever wonder if you are taking your medication correctly?
According to a consumer report, every year about 500,000 people in American have either misread or misinterpret the medication labels. For some of these individuals, the consequence may not be serious.
But for certain cases, the results can be life-threatening.
To help minimize this problem, many pharmacies have applied extra warning labels to the container in hope to clarify vital information pertaining to a specific drug. Although some of these labels are quite straightforward, others can be just as confusing.
To help our readers better understand these warning stickers, this article will explain the top 50 common warning labels on prescription containers as well as provide tips on reading dosage instructions.
What Are Pharmacy Auxiliary Labels?
What are all the bright color warning graphic stickers applied on over-the-counter medicine or prescription drug container?
What do they do?
They are actually called Pharmacy Auxiliary Labels.
They are developed to point out critical warnings and information concerning a medication. For some labels, they provide commonly ignored warnings of a specific medication. Others may clear up the directions for taking a drug (e.g. certain medicine are used as a suppository and not to be taken as an oral medicine).
For the pharmacist, there are two benefits of applying these labels:
- To make it easier for patients to immediately catch on to the important information
- Ensure patients to double check their medicine even after they have taken a specific drug for a long time and usually disregard the usual warnings.
Top 50 Common Warning Labels and Their Meanings
The medication must be swallowed whole. Because certain drugs are designed to be either fast-acting or slow-releasing, damaging the outer coating may lead to harmful damages to the body.
The medication is intended for external use only. Ingesting it may lead to undesirable effects or even poisoning.
The medication is intended for oral ingestion use only. Other ways of using this medication will be ineffective.
The medication is intended for inhalation purposes only. Other ways of using this medication will be ineffective.
The medication is intended for treating ear-related conditions only unless specifically advised by your physician.
The medication is intended for vaginal-related conditions only unless specifically advised by your physician.
The medication can be too acidic to your stomach lining. In order to minimize the corrosive properties of this drug, please take some food to coat your stomach and to soak up the excess stomach acid.
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This medication / treatment is not used as an injection. If you have any uncertainty concerning administration procedure, please consult with the pharmacist or your physician.
The medication cannot be taken by mouth.
Please chew the tablet before swallowing to allow optimal reaction results.
The medication / treatment must be diluted before use.
The medication can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. While you are on this medication treatment, refrain from prolong exposure to both direct and artificial sunlight.
The medication may react with alcohol and other medications. Consult with your doctor first before taking any other medication in conjunction with this drug.
This medicine will cause drowsiness and dizziness. Please avoid driving and operating heavy machinery after taking this drug.
This medication / treatment name may sound similar to another medicine you are currently using. It may also look alike to another drug.
Please drink plenty of water along with this medicine.
This medication / treatment should be taken in the morning.
This medication should be taken in the evening.
This medicine will react with juice. Please use milk or water to take this drug.
Please be aware that this package is not child-resistant. Please ensure to keep this medicine / treatment in an area where your child cannot reach.
Please keep this medication / treatment frozen.
This medication will be rendered less effective when exposed to sunlight. Please store them in an area away from sunlight exposure.
This medication contains opioids. Please note of the overdose and addiction risks linked to improper usage of this drug.
Do not stop taking this medicine unless instructed by your physician.
This treatment is used for gargling only. Do not swallow the liquid and spit it out after use.
If you experience any side effects of this medication/treatment, consult with your doctor or contact FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.
The medication is intended for treating eye-related conditions only unless specifically advised by your physician.
The medication must be placed under the tongue to be dissolved. Chewing or swallowing the drug will affect the reaction rate.
Your mouth require thorough rinsing after using this medication / treatment.
The medication must be taken on an empty stomach so that it will react according to the designed-effective rate.
The medication cannot be taken in conjunction with other medications or food that contain nitrates.
The medication / treatment may lower the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you are currently taking any form of birth control, please consult with your physician.
Do not crush this medication or treatment in any way.
Please shake the medication / treatment before use.
The medication should be taken during supper time along with your food.
This medication has the ability to impair your ability to drive. After taking this drug, please avoid driving.
The medication can cause harm to the fetus. If you are pregnant, do not take this drug.
The medication will react with cheese, wine, and chocolate. If you are taking this medication, please avoid eating these foods.
The medication will react with alcoholic beverages. To avoid overdose and other life-threatening reaction, refrain from drinking any alcohol drinks while you are on this medical treatment.
This medicine will cause discoloration of your urine and feces. Do not be alarm if your excrement turn into an uncommon color.
This medicine will react with antacids. Please avoid using this drug in conjunction with any antacids.
This medicine must be stored in a cool dry area. Failure to do so may affect the effectiveness of your medication / treatment.
This medication will be rendered less effective when exposed to light. Please store them in an area away from light exposure.
This medication must be taken half an hour before your meals. Please consult with the pharmacist or your physician to make sure you are taking the correct dosage throughout the day.
This medicine must be taken with food as it may contain acidic properties that will hurt your stomach lining.
The container / apparatus contains cytotoxic agents and must be disposed properly. Please consult with the pharmacist about proper disposal practice.
This medicine will be rendered less effective by cigarette smoking. Please consult with your pharmacist and physician of the risks.
This medication will cause drowsiness. Please avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after taking this drug.
Please keep this medication / treatment in an area that is out of your child’s reach.
Please avoid taking aspirin or drugs that contain aspirin in conjunction with this medication.
Here is the full graphic for reference.
- Jeetu, G., & Girish, T. (2010). Prescription Drug Labeling Medication Errors: A Big Deal for Pharmacists. Journal of Young Pharmacists : JYP, 2(1), 107–111.