Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 31: Using Medicines

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In this chapter:

How to use this chapter:

This chapter explains how to use medicines safely and effectively. It also has information to help you decide when to use medicine and when not to.

Specific information on side effects, warning signs, and other issues for each medicine mentioned in this book is found in the “Medicines Pages”.

forms of medicine including pills, liquids, injections, and plants

{{sidenote||Medicines can be useful, but they cannot replace safe and healthy living conditions, nutritious food, or access to good health care.

People take medicines to help the body fight disease or feel better when sick. The medicines in this book can be bought in pharmacies or some other stores, and given by health workers.

Traditional medicines, often from herbs or other plants, can also be useful for comfort and healing. This book has little information about them because they vary greatly from one region to another. A remedy that works in one community may not exist in another community. Ask traditional healers and health workers where you live to help you find remedies that may work for your problem.

It is important to use medicines safely. Used properly, medicines save lives. But when they are not used carefully, medicines can hurt and even kill you. For example, some medicines can harm both you and your baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding. And some medicines may cause problems called side effects, which can be annoying, worrisome, or dangerous to your health. And very often, if you take too much of a medicine at once, or take it too often, it can harm you.

This page was updated:22 Jan 2024