Whatever the medicine is, you should take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor or nurse. For medicines like anticoagulants it is also important to take it at the same times every day.
How and when to take it
Unless advised differently by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist, swallow the recommended number of tablets whole with a full glass of water.
The dose, and how often you need to take it, can vary depending on a number of things, including:
- which medicine you have been prescribed
- what health condition you are taking it for
- your age and body weight
- your kidney function
- your bleeding risk.
Do not change your dose unless you have been instructed to do so by your prescriber. If you are changing your dose - make sure you are clear about the new amount and when to start taking it.
If you’re not sure of what to take and when, don’t be afraid to double check with a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. They can let you know if you have to take the medicine with food (so it will work properly), or if you should keep the medicine in its packaging until you are ready to take it.
How long to take it for
Continue taking your medicine for as long as your doctor or nurse tells you. Do not stop taking it or change how you take it without checking with your prescriber first.
Stopping can put you at increased risk of developing a blood clot, which may lead to a serious condition, such as a stroke.
What to do if you forget to take it
Keep a note of any missed doses and seek advice from a doctor, nurse or pharmacist – do not take a double dose to make up for the forgotten tablet.
What to do if you take too much
Get immediate emergency medical help if you have taken too much anticoagulant medicine – even if there is no discomfort or signs of poisoning. Taking too much of this type of medicine may lead to serious bleeding that may not stop without emergency treatment.