The Medication Label - What to Look For

Read Time: 3:47
Published: Dec 21st, 2020
The Medication Label - What to Look For
Article Updated:September 4th, 2021

Understanding everything listed on your prescription label can be a challenge. Comprehending your medication label will help with good health and avoid accidents.

However, sometimes the labels on your prescription medicines seem overloaded with confusing information. No matter your age, learning how to read a medication label is essential to overall good health.

Key Information on the Label 

The label on your prescription bottle includes several familiar pieces of information, including:  

  • Your dosing schedules
  • Medication strength and name
  • Total number of tablets dispensed
  • The number of refills remaining
  • A prescription identification number

Pharmacy Information Sheets

While the bottle provides essential information and instructions, you will get the most detailed info about the drug from the pharmacy sheet that comes with the prescription. A pharmacy information sheet will include:

  • Warnings. This section warns users about specific ingredients in the substance and cautions against mixing the medication with other substances. It also mentions harmful dosage information.
  • Uses. As the name suggests, this section highlights the reasons why someone may need to take the medication prescribed.
  • How to Use. This section describes how to use the medication safely. For example, you may need to apply topical medication three times a day or take a specific pill at mealtimes.
  • Side Effects. Every drug undergoes preliminary testing to ensure it is safe. This testing also uncovers any potential side effects. The pharmacy information sheet will list these side effects and recommend discussing any side effects with a doctor.
  • Drug Facts. Within the drug facts section of your pharmacy information sheet, you will find information on the substance's inactive and active ingredients. Inactive ingredients play a vital role in how the active ingredients work, but they can also cause allergic reactions.

Understand the Warnings and Dosage Rules

Medication labels have a lot of information, making it hard for users to fully comprehend the risks and benefits of the medication they take. Use this guide to learn how to read a medication label so you can be confident in the prescriptions you are taking.

It is recommended that you get your prescription drugs from the same pharmacy as they will record other medications you are taking. If you get a new medication, be sure you understand how to take the medication. Often, the pharmacist can review this with you when you pick up a new prescription for the first time.

Keep a list of the prescriptions you are currently taking and keep it with you. Many smartphones can store this vital health information. There are also health apps available that can do the same thing. You can also include your doctors' names and contact information and the health issues for which you are being treated. You can also keep a printed version in your wallet or purse.

If you have older family members, be sure they are doing the same thing. You can keep your list of their information as well. 

There are several common directions you can find on medication labels. These include:

Take once (or twice/three times) daily:

Check to be sure you understand the direction. Usually, twice daily would mean every twelve hours, for example. Find out if you miss a dosage, whether you should go ahead and take it when you think of it, or wait until the next correct time.

Take as needed: 

What exactly does take as needed mean? Find out the maximum amount you can take in one 24 hour period. How many hours spacing should you have between dosing?

Take with food/take with water:

Usually, when a label says 'take with food' it means something more substantial than a cracker. Ask the doctor or pharmacist precisely what is required with the use of the medication.

The same thing goes with water. There are medications where at least 8 ounces of water is required. Do not assume, ask. 

Limit sun exposure: 

Too many people ignore this warning. When the label says, 'limit sun exposure,' it means exactly that. However, it usually does not mean you cannot go outside. Find out exactly what it means to limit sun exposure. 

Understanding a drug label is always essential, no matter what your age. However, as you get older, it becomes even more important as an older person typically has multiple health issues to juggle. In addition, some older people may have some cognitive decline.

Be sure to help older family members and discuss these concerns. If your loved one has a caregiver, be sure they understand all the medications.

About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

Editor's Note

Preparing for longevity is something you should be researching before you get old.  We experience declining health as we get older. Our bodies weaken, and our minds will also decline. The financial costs and burdens of aging can bring many challenges and additional costs that need to be addressed before creating a family crisis.

Part of the solution is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. You will have access to guaranteed tax-free resources so that you will have your choice of quality care either in-home or in a facility. 

A policy is more than just about money. There are tremendous burdens, stress, and anxiety family members face when they have a parent in a long-term care situation. Long-Term Care Insurance allows them to have the time to be family.

Planning Tools Available on LTC NEWS

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. There are also available tax incentives. See if these tax incentives are helpful - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

The costs of long-term health care services and supports will continue to rise in the decades to come due to increasing demand and higher labor costs. Find the current and future cost of long-term care services by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

LTC NEWS - Your Marketing and Advertising Partner

Drive traffic to your website and find the people interested in your products and services by using LTC NEWS. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your services.

You may need a more aggressive advertising message for your business or service. There are many options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, and strategic alliances are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

Share Your Knowledge - Be A Guest Contributor for LTC NEWS

There is a big audience on LTC NEWS waiting for you to share your knowledge with them. You and your company or website have enormous benefits when you get an article published on LTC NEWS.

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS.

Just write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. Stay on topic with articles on health, aging, caregiving, retirement planning, long-term care, and other topics that interest adults over age 40. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive for LTC NEWS and cannot be just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Topics can include stories on:

  • Aging
  • Caregiving
  • Health
  • Long-Term Care
  • Retirement Planning

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

Shared Links

LTC NEWS offers a 'helpful links' page so readers looking for additional information can find them easily. You can get a dofollow link to your website on LTC NEWS in exchange for a dofollow link on your site.

Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

Share News with LTC NEWS

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com 

Looking for Quality Caregivers? Need Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim?

If a loved one already needs in-home care or owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and needs assistance filing the claim, LTC NEWS is here to help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages

There are many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now. 

Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee
Mallory Knee

Contributor Since
September 25th, 2020

Freelance writer where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty

About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion.

Work With a Long-Term Care Specialist
Work With a Trusted Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist
  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • A Strong understanding in underwriting, policy design, and claims experience.
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies.
Find a Trusted Specialist
Table of Contents
Connect With a Long-Term Care Specialist

Find Affordable Insurance and the Right Coverage.

LTC News Trusted & Verified
Learn More
Search Results