Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A RTFM moment

I recently took a calll from a patient I had prescribed antibiotics. He had a recurrent bronchitis and as such I felt he warranted a ten day course to be sure of clearing the infection this time. Of course these days all prescription meds are dispensed with a label offering instructions on how they are to be taken, and often with a supporting, more detailed, data sheet.

I had asked him to take his antibiotics four times daily, to make sure he took the whole course, and thought no more about it. Three days later he called, in obvious distress, to ask he he really needed a ten day course. When I asked him why he said they were making him feel so weak. This was not a side effect I would have expected so I asked him what made him think it was the medication doing this.

Well, he said, the instructions say the tablets are to be taken on an empty stomach so I have had nothing to eat for three days so far!

He had apparently missed the bit that said to be taken 30 mins before food or on an empty stomach!

After the call he was able to complete his antibiotics and his bronchtis is now resolved. Happily he has not suffered unduly from 72 hours of medically induced starvation either.

Dr J

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