Australian Prescriber
VOLUME 17 : NUMBER 3 : July 1994

Commonly prescribed medications -- labelling and advice from the pharmacist [wall chart]

Aust Prescr 1994;17:73

Occasionally, a doctor may have to dispense a medication before the patient is able to obtain it from a pharmacy. This chart is a reminder of the basic instructions which accompany the 50 most commonly prescribed medications. It is based on the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. The approved product information should be consulted for more detailed information on dosage and administration.

Group Drugs Advice Other comments
ANTI-INFECTIVE Amoxycillin capsulesDAllergy?
Amoxycillin suspension6.7 (14 days)D"
Amoxycillin with potassium clavulanate tabletsD"
Amoxycillin with potassium clavulanate suspension6,7 (7 days)D"
Cefaclor suspension6,7 (14 days)D
Cephalexin suspension6,7 (14 days)D
Chloramphenicol eye drops7 (30 days)
Clotrimazole creamDE
Erythromycin3AD"Instructions may vary with formulation
Flucloxacillin3D"? Liver function during prolonged therapy
Flucloxacillin suspension3,6,7 (14 days)D"" " " " " " "
Influenza vaccine6
Metronidazole2BD"" " " " " " "
Phenoxymethylpenicillin3D"" " " " " " "
Tetracyclines3,4D"Not suitable for children. Doxycyline absorption is not significantly affected by milk
Trimethoprim tabletsDAvoid in pregnancy
Trimethoprim with sulfamethoxazole8BD"" " " " " " "
Captopril tablets11CFirst dose hypotension may occur
Captopril solution7 (28 days), 11C" " " " " " "
Enalapril11" " " " " " "
Beta adrenoceptor blocking drugs - atenolol, metoprolol, timolol9, 12Contraindicated in patients at risk of brochospasm eg asthmatics. May precipitate heart failure
Calcium channel blockers -
Verapamil sustained release tabletsAB
Frusemide15? Renal function
Glyceryl trinitrate7 (90 days), 15
SimvastatinContinue lipid lowering diet
RESPIRATORY Antihistamines1, 13
Inhaled steroids - budesonide, beclomethasone14
Ipratropium? Risk of glaucoma, urinary retention
Salbutamol (inhaled)Is preventative therapy indicated?
PSYCHIATRY Benzodiazepines - diazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, temazepam1Not for prolonged use
Tricyclic antidepressants - amitriptyline, doxepin, dothiepin1,13,15? Risk of glaucoma, urinary retention
ANALGESICS Aspirin13ABContraindicated in bleeding disorders, peptic ulcer
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - diclofenac, ketoprofen, naproxen, piroxicam10,12ABInteraction with anticoagulants
Paracetamol tablets13
Paracetamol with codeine1,13
GASTROINTESTINAL CimetidineInteraction with lignocaine, phenytoin, nifedipine and wafarin
Magnesium with aluminium hydroxide antacids? Renal insufficiency
METABOLIC Allopurinol12B? Fluid intake
OPHTHALMIC ChloramphenicolSee anti-infective section
Timolol7 (30 days)See beta adrenoceptor blocking drugs


  1. May cause drowsiness and increase the effects of alcohol and other depressants of the central nervous system. Patients should be advised about the risks of driving and operating machinery.
  2. Not to be taken with alcohol.
  3. Take on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before food, and at bedtime.
  4. Do not take milk, antacids, iron or calcium supplements within two hours of taking this medicine.
  5. Certain drugs and foods should not be taken during treatment.
  6. Refrigerate do not freeze.
  7. This product may have a limited shelf-life and should be discarded after a certain period of time.
  8. Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight during treatment.
  9. Do not stop taking this treatment suddenly. If adverse effects occur, the patient should seek advice on whether or not to continue the treatment.
  10. Do not take with aspirin.
  11. Do not take with potassium supplements.
  12. May affect mental alertness and/or co-ordination. Patients should be advised about the risks of driving and operating machinery.
  13. Keep in the original packaging.
  14. Rinse mouth out with water after use.
  15. May cause dizziness (postural hypotension).
  • A. Should be taken whole and not divided.
  • B. Take with or after food.
  • C. On an empty stomach or at least 30 minutes before food.
  • D. Until all used, unless adverse effects develop.
  • E. Continue for at least 7 days after the rash disappears.
  • F. Immediately before food.
  • G. Drink plenty of water.

First published online 1 July 1994