What exactly means “on an empty stomach”?

“Read the package leaflet and ask your doctor or pharmacist.” This advice you have heard in your life probably just as often ignored. Because the conversation with the doctor or pharmacist might be helpful. However, the package inserts of many drugs is often rather a puzzle book as a light reading.

This is a shame, because the paper answers many important questions: Who is allowed to take the drug, when and how often? What side effects may occur? However, many of these news don’t make it easy for the receiver, says Kai-Peter Siemsen, President of the chamber of pharmacists, Hamburg. He believed that nine out of ten patients read the package insert.

Between provision and user-friendliness

Small font, tapeworm sentences, technical terms: “The leaflet in its present Form overwhelm the patient often,” says Ingrid Dänschel from the Board of the German family doctors ‘ Association. The reason is the attempt by the manufacturer, is legally secure is.

In fact, there are numerous regulations that pharmaceutical companies must, when Writing keep. “It is laid down by law, which ballots must be in the accessory pack in it,” explains Rose Schraitle by the German Association of drug manufacturers (BAH). “The information must be written in English and the writing must be legible.”

Also, the order of the information is required. Patients with leaflet-experience to find so more easily. “And it must be understandable,” says Schraitle. Both language and font size, but for most patients is problematic.

Two Examples:

  • “On an empty stomach” mean that patients four hours of nothing to eat and only water to drink should have, such as the Association of Research-based pharmaceutical companies (VFA) can be explained.
  • And “with a lot of liquid to take” specifically refers to cold or lukewarm water, not hot or caffeinated drinks.

The paper also reveals the rhythm, in which patients, how much of a medicine should. This is as vital, for example, in the case of antibiotics: “If there are three Times a day, every eight hours, should I take the even so,” says Siemsen. 30 minutes, more or less, it is likely to be a change, but not much larger deviations.

Doctor or pharmacist will be able to help, if there are questions about the side effects – a point that often a larger part of the leaflet is all about. Even if it is assumed that they are due to the drug, the manufacturer, all observed side effects of a drug to be listed, says BAH-expert Schraitle.

This has advantages and disadvantages: on the one Hand, the Patient knows what he’s getting into. On the other hand, the perceived risks can unsettle also. Sometimes patients did not want to take for fear of side effects is a means, says Siemsen.

He recommends in such cases to make the probability of a side effect aware of – which is in the package insert. “Very often,” for example, means that the side effect occurred in one out of ten Treated. There is “very rare”, it was, however, only one out of 10,000.

To advice not do without

A bit trickier is in the interactions. These are for patients is hardly manageable, and can also avoid the Doctors if they prescribed independently of each other drugs. “Therefore, it is important that there is the family doctor who keeps track,” says Siemsen.

Must also be familiar with the over-the-counter funds buying a Patient takes, says house doctor Dänschel: “this, too, may have side effects – the St. John’s wort, for example.” Especially in the case of herbal remedies, many patients think that there are no risks or interactions, but the opposite is the case.