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The Drug Pamphlet Part 1

It seems like the literature that comes with a medicine contains more than enough instructions. There are also backup instructions. Then they throw up cautions. But wait, just in case you are not talked out of using the medicine yet, they provide even more. There are statistics with past medical case studies. The tiny printed words read similar to legal terms. The drug pamphlet is a valuable piece of paper for us as consumers.

We can thank the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for requiring all of this information. It was first included with medicine in the late 60s. What started out as protection and information has turned into a comprehensive document. It serves many purposes for us as consumers. But it can also scare the dickens out of us. It usually is laid out in sections.

The sections of your prescription’s informational pamphlet

  • Clinical Pharmacology – Here is where you found out how it will affect the body. It includes the details about how it is absorbed, and how quickly it is eliminated. It will also give you a lot of numbers about how concentrated it is at any given time in the body.
  • Clinical Trials – Here are the details about studies done before FDA approval. Expect to read about who was tested. (for example: men, women, children) It will give the facts about the age ranges too. Then comes the potentially scary part: The side effects. I read it for a cream when we first used it on my infant granddaughter. It was scary, and I didn’t want my daughter to read it. I knew we had to use it. It was working for us.
  • Side Effects – Yep. It’s all there. It seems like if a single person who used it got a runny nose, the FDA requires it to be in the pamphlet. It will give you a complete list, including how many people of what age got it. You will know how long they used the medication also.
  • Medication Guide – This is what the doctor and the pharmacists read. Sometimes this section is not give to patients. It lists ingredients and drug interactions. You can expect to find out how it works for certain populations, such a pregnant and nursing women. It discusses pediatric and elderly patients. It includes info for immune suppressed patients who have cancer, HIV, etc.
  • Dosage and Storage  – The dosage is on the label from your pharmacy. There is much more detail on the inside packaging. The range of temperature for storage is included in this section as well.
  • Pictures – This is the scientific part. It shows the micro structure of the medicine. I don’t know what it means, but I do feel better knowing that someone smart does.
  • Warnings and Cautions – It’s there for you to see. Most of it is probably summarized on your pharmacy label. If you have the nerves for it or want in-depth details, read it for yourself.

I’m personally glad that we have access to the information. If you want it broken down, step by step, ask for the literature. Your doctor or pharmacists will be able to provide it to you and answer any questions.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.