These are the code numbers and their meanings for the cautionary labels used by pharmacists when dispensing medicines in the UK. Extra counselling may be given with relation to age, experience, background and understanding of the patient.

  1. Warning. May cause drowsiness

    To be used on preparations for children containing antihistamines or where label 2 would be inappropriate.

  2. Warning. May cause drowsiness. If affected do not drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcoholic drink

    To be used on preparations for adults.

  3. Warning. May cause drowsiness. If affected do not drive or operate machinery

    To be used on preparations contatining monoamine-oxidase inhibitors or for label 2 where alcohol is not an issue

  4. Warning. Avoid alcoholic drink

    When an alcholic reaction may occur such as flushing (eg metronidazole and chlorpropamide

  5. Do not take indigestion remedies at the same time of day as this medicine

    To be used with label 25 on preparations coated to resist gastric acid (eg enteric coated tablets)

  6. Do not take iron preparations or indigestion remedies at the same time of day as this medicine

    To be used on preparations containing ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, minocycline and penicillamine

  7. Do not take milk, iron preparations or indigestion remedies at the same time of day as this medicine

    To be used on preparations containing tetracylines and chelate iron, calcium and magnesium

  8. Do not stop taking this medicine except on your doctor's advice

    To be used on preparations that contain a drug which is required to be taken over long periods without the patient necessarily perceiving any benefit (eg antituberculous drugs)

  9. Take at regular intervals. Complete the prescribed course unless otherwise directed

    To be used on preparations where a course of treatment should be completed to reduce the incidence of relapse or failure of treatment

  10. Warning. Follow the printed instructions you have been given with this medicine

    To be used particularly on preparations containing anticoagulants, lithium and oral corticosteroids.

  11. Avoid exposure of skin to direct sunlight or sun lamps

    To be used on preparations that may cause phototoxic or photoallergic reactions if the patient is exposed to ultraviolet radiation

  12. Do not take anything containing aspirin while taking this medicine

    To be used on preparations containing probenecid and sulphinpyrazone whose activity is reduced by aspirin

  13. Disolve or mix with water before taking

  14. This medicine may colour the urine

    To be used on preparations that may cause the patients urine to turn an unusual colour

  15. Caution flammable: keep away from fire or flames

  16. Allow to dissolve under the tongue. Do not transfer from this container. Keep tightly close. Discard eight weeks after opening

    To be used on glyceryl trinitrate tablets

  17. Do not take more than ... in 24 hours

    To be used on preparations for treatment of acute migrane

  18. Do not take more than ... in 24 hours or ... in any one week

    To be used on preparations containing ergotamine

  19. Warning. Causes drowsiness which may continue the next day. If affected do not drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcoholic drink

    To be used on preparations containing hypnotics (or some other sedative) prescribed to be taken at night

  20. ...with or after food

    To be used on preparations that are liable to cause gastric irritation

  21. ...half to one hour before food

    To be used on some preparations whose absorption is thereby improved

  22. ...an hour before food or on an empty stomach

    To be used on oral antibiotics whose absorption may be reduced by the presence of food or acid in the stomach

  23. ...sucked or chewed

  24. ...swallowed whole, not chewed

    To be used on some preparations that are enteric coated or designed for modified release

  25. ...dissolved under the tongue

    To be used on some preparations that are designed for sublingual use

  26. ...with plenty of water

  27. To be spread thinly...

    For external preparations which should be applied sparingly.

  28. Do not take more than 2 at any one time. Do not take more than 8 in 24 hours

  29. Do not take with any other paracetamol products

  30. Contains aspirin and paracetamol. Do not take with any other paracetamol products

  31. Contains aspirin

  32. Contains an aspirin-like medicine

British National Formulary (BNF) 37 - March 1999

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