Most of the drugs prescribed are safe. These drugs are tested at several levels by several organisations (government and private) before being certified safe for usage.
If you look up the internet or package inserts, you will find several side effects mentioned. However, point to note is that these are almost never life threatening. Very small percentage of patients experience these side effects and still fewer patients have life threatening side effects. Most drugs have no major side effects.
- It is always better to swallow whole tablet. But in case of young children (too young to swallow whole tablet) tablets may be crushed. However “sustained release/Chrono/extended release” have to be swallowed whole (cannot be crushed/broken/chewed). Example: Vaparin Chrono, Topamac XR, Zen Retard, Levipil XR, Oxetal XR, Tegretol XR.
- Tablets can be taken with or without food.
DO NOT CHANGE DRUG FORMULATIONS i.e. do not change brands. It may precipitate breakthrough seizures. So initiate therapy with brand locally available.
Child need not be woken up from sleep for giving medicine.
Most of the drugs are prescribed once or twice daily with usual gap of 12 hours. If two or more drugs are prescribed, then they can be given together unless specifically advised against it.
If child vomits with 30 minutes of drug intake, dose needs to be repeated.
In case a dose is missed: do not panic. Give the missed dose if there is still ample time before next dose. If the next scheduled dose is within 2-3 hrs do not give double dose.
It is advisable to make pill box (filled with medicines for a week- Sunday to Saturday) to avoid missing doses. Mobile alarms can also be tried to avoid missing the dose.
Syrup or suspension should be taken in amount exactly prescribed by doctor. A disposable syringe (5cc/ 10cc) is an easy way of measuring exact amount. Suspensions should be shaken well before ingestion.
Drugs should be discontinued only when advised by doctor.