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What the extra stickers (auxiliary labels) mean on your medicine containers (vials, boxes)

These stickers are used to remind you of important information about your medicines. For example, how to use and store the medicine safely and properly.

Here is a list of commonly used auxiliary labels and an explanation of what they mean.


Certain medications may alter the effectiveness of birth control pills - Some medications can lessen the effectiveness of your birth control pill. A back up method of birth control should be used. Consult with your pharmacist, physician or nurse for more a more detailed explanation, including how long back up birth control is necessary.


Do not chew or crush. Swallow whole - Some tablets and capsules have a protective coating that allows the medication to be released slowly. Crushing or chewing the protective coating will destroy it and all of the medication will be released at once, which can be harmful.


Do not drink milk or eat dairy products - Calcium, antacids and iron can lessen the amount some medications are absorbed into the body. To avoid this, take your medication at least 1 hour before or after these products. Dairy products and multivitamins contain calcium. Iron supplements, multivitamins and certain foods can contain iron.


Do not eat grapefruit - Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with certain medications, affecting the level of medication in your body. While you are on these medications, it is best to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice.


Finish all this medication  - For some medications, it is important to finish the whole prescription, especially for antibiotics.


May cause drowsiness - Some medications can cause drowsiness and may make driving a car or working with heavy machinery dangerous. Alcohol can make these effects worse.


Medication Should be Taken with Plenty of Water - Drink at least a full glass of water with medication or right after taking it. Water can help the medication be absorbed into the body and can help prevent side effects like irritation to the throat.



Rinse mouth thoroughly after each use - When using an inhaler, not all of the medication particles are inhaled directly into the lungs, even if the correct technique for inhaling is used. Some of the medication particles can remain in the mouth and throat. With certain inhalers, this can result in an oral thrush infection. Rinsing your mouth after each use will help to prevent this from happening.


Take with Food - Take medication with a meal or a snack. Food can help certain medications be absorbed into the body better or taking medications with food can help prevent side effects like stomach upset and nausea.


Take medication on an empty stomach - Some medications are better absorbed into the body when taken on an empty stomach. It is recommended to take these medications at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.