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Drug Label Lingo

Carole Lynch downed her osteoporosis pills with just a sip of water, even though the sticker said to drink a full glass. Then she felt a burning in her throat. Turns out the pill can get stuck and damage the esophagus. Oops. Other warnings you really should heed, from Kelly Shields, PharmD, of Raabe College of Pharmacy in Ohio: LABEL SAYS WHY Take with a full glass of water Water helps dilute drugs so they won't irritate the esophagus or stomach lining, plus it flushes them into the abdomen to disintegrate properly. Stay out of the sun 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. Avoid dairy Calcium can delay drug absorption. You won't get the right dose. Take with food Food boosts absorption and helps reduce nausea. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery The drug makes you drowsy, dizzy or lightheaded; slows reaction time and motor skills.