Practical Points About Taking And Administering Medications

  • Some patients may not be able to take certain formulations. Capsules can contain gelatine made from either beef or pork, so that some Jewish, Muslim or Hindu patients will not take these. Other patients may have swallowing difficulties, and require an alternative formulation of the drug.
  • Consider the patient's co-morbidities. A number of drugs require dose adjustment in renal or liver impairment. Some gastrointestinal problems may adversely affect the absorption of any GUM treatments prescribed.
  • When giving intramuscular injections it is important to ensure that a patient's platelet count is sufficient.
  • When taking a drug history from a patient, always check the following:
  • What drugs they are currently taking - including any creams, inhalers, over-the-counter remedies, herbal medicines, recreational drugs and alcohol consumption. ° In women - pregnancy, lactation and whether they are on hormonal contraception, as the efficacy of it can be affected by some antibiotics. ° Whether they have recently been on any medication. Some drugs, such as efavirenz (used to treat HIV) are present in significant concentrations in the body for a few weeks after stopping. Other drugs, such as isotretinoin (used to treat severe acne) can still have teratogenic effects up to 3 months after stopping.
  • It is important to check allergy status beforehand. Some patients may not be allergic to the drug itself but to the excipients. For example, naseptin® contains arachis oil, which is not suitable for people with peanut allergy. ° Some drugs used within GUM have to be used with caution in patients with G6PD deficiency.
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