Questions you can ask your doctor include:
- Why do I need antibiotics?
are the side effects of this antibiotic?
- Can I do anything to
prevent the side effects?
- How do I take the antibiotic? Do I take
it at a certain time of day? Do I take it with food?
- Will the
antibiotic interfere with any other medicines?
- Will anything
happen if I take this with other medicines, certain foods, or
- Do I need to refrigerate antibiotics? Are there any
special storage instructions?
If you need to take antibiotics, always tell your doctor or
pharmacist about other medicines or dietary supplements you are taking. Be sure
to talk about any special diet you may be following, any food or drug allergies
you may have, and any health problems you have. And make sure your doctor
knows if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
How do I take antibiotics?
When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic:
- Take it exactly as directed. Always take the
exact amount that the label says to take. If the label says to take the
medicine at a certain time, follow these directions.
- Take it for
as long as prescribed. You might feel better after you take it for a few days.
But it is important to keep taking the antibiotic as directed. You need the full prescription to get rid of those bacteria that are a
bit stronger and survive the first few days of treatment. Bacteria that an
antibiotic cannot kill (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) can
develop if you (and many other people) take only part of an antibiotic
Antibiotics generally are safe. But it is important to watch for
side effects. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
In women, antibiotics can lead to vaginal yeast infections.
In rare cases, antibiotics can cause a dangerous allergic
reaction that requires emergency care. If the antibiotic causes side effects
that really bother you, call your doctor to ask if there is another antibiotic
that will work as well but not cause these effects. Or ask your doctor if you
need treatment to deal with the side effects. Some minor side effects are hard
to avoid, but if they are more severe, discuss them with your doctor.