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 capsules D Allergy?
Amoxycillin suspension 6.7 (14 days) D "
Amoxycillin with potassium clavulanate tablets D "
Amoxycillin with potassium clavulanate suspension 6,7 (7 days) D "
Cefaclor D
Cefaclor suspension 6,7 (14 days) D
Cephalexin D
Cephalexin suspension 6,7 (14 days) D
Chloramphenicol eye drops 7 (30 days)
Clotrimazole cream DE
Erythromycin 3 AD " Instructions may vary with formulation
Flucloxacillin 3 D " ? Liver function during prolonged therapy
Flucloxacillin suspension 3,6,7 (14 days) D " " " " " " " "
Influenza vaccine 6
Metronidazole 2 BD " " " " " " " "
Phenoxymethylpenicillin 3 D " " " " " " " "
Tetracyclines 3,4 D " Not suitable for children. Doxycyline absorption is not significantly affected by milk
Trimethoprim tablets D Avoid in pregnancy
Trimethoprim with sulfamethoxazole 8 BD " " " " " " " "
Captopril tablets 11 C First dose hypotension may occur
Captopril solution 7 (28 days), 11 C " " " " " " "
Enalapril 11 " " " " " " "
Beta adrenoceptor blocking drugs - atenolol, metoprolol, timolol 9, 12 Contraindicated in patients at risk of brochospasm eg asthmatics. May precipitate heart failure
Calcium channel blockers -
Diltiazem 9 A
Felodipine A
Nifedipine 13 A
Verapamil sustained release tablets AB
Frusemide 15 ? Renal function
Glyceryl trinitrate 7 (90 days), 15
Prazosin 15
Simvastatin Continue lipid lowering diet
RESPIRATORY Antihistamines 1, 13
Inhaled steroids - budesonide, beclomethasone 14
Ipratropium ? Risk of glaucoma, urinary retention
Salbutamol (inhaled) Is preventative therapy indicated?
PSYCHIATRY Benzodiazepines - diazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, temazepam 1 Not for prolonged use
Chlorpromazine 1,8,15
Tricyclic antidepressants - amitriptyline, doxepin, dothiepin 1,13,15 ? Risk of glaucoma, urinary retention
ANALGESICS Aspirin 13 AB Contraindicated in bleeding disorders, peptic ulcer
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - diclofenac, ketoprofen, naproxen, piroxicam 10,12 AB Interaction with anticoagulants
Paracetamol tablets 13
Paracetamol with codeine 1,13
GASTROINTESTINAL Cimetidine Interaction with lignocaine, phenytoin, nifedipine and wafarin
Magnesium with aluminium hydroxide antacids ? Renal insufficiency
Prochlorperazine 1,15
METABOLIC Allopurinol 12 B ? Fluid intake
OPHTHALMIC Chloramphenicol See anti-infective section
Timolol 7 (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: 1st of July 1994