Consumer Tips \ Inside the Medicine Chest

How to Measure Your Medicine Doses

Getting the right medication is crucial, and in order to get the full effect, you've gotta be taking the right dose.

As in cooking, medicine is often prescribed in teaspoons and tablespoons. But these are not your kitchen measuring spoons.

And they're definitely not the ones that come out of your silverware drawer. Those come in many different sizes.

I tell my customers to ditch the spoon and go for the plastic shovel—otherwise known as a medicine spoon. You can get one from your doctor or pharmacist. Pour the liquid into this end—read the numbers on the side. When you're using the plastic shovel you'll definitely be getting the right dosage.

Another way to take medicine is by using an oral syringe—no, don't worry, there's no needle attached to this one. Just read the markings on the side and you'll get the right dose.

If your medication comes with an oral dropper, like many infant meds, keep it in its original bottle. For example, don't dip the one for pain meds in the bottle of cough syrup—what's right for one may not be okay for the other.

And while we're talking droppers, what about those little letters on the side— ML and CC?

ML is milliliters and CC is cubic centimeters—they're just different ways of saying the same thing. Five of them make up a teaspoonful of liquid.

One other thing to notice…if your label says, "Shake before dosing" go ahead and shake the bottle. Medicine will often settle at the bottom and if you pour without shaking, you'll just be getting the suspending agent, not the full dose.

If you have any questions about dosing instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

This entry last modified on: January 28, 2013 3:19 PM

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Are you getting the right medicine dose? Pharmacist Doug White shows you the most accurate way to measure out your medications.


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