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Your nurse, doctor or pharmacist will tell you when and how to take your antibiotics. If you're not sure, ask.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed as tablets or capsules that you swallow. But they can also come as:

  • liquid drinks
  • sprays
  • creams
  • lotions
  • drops
  • injections

Some antibiotics need to be taken on an empty stomach and some have to be taken with food. Take your dose exactly as prescribed.

Missing a dose of antibiotics

If you forget to take a dose of your antibiotics, take it as soon as you remember. Take the rest of your antibiotics as normal.

If you forget to take a dose and it's almost time for the next one, skip the missed dose. Don't take a double dose. Take the rest of your antibiotics as normal.

Accidentally taking an extra dose

There is a bigger risk of side effects if you take doses closer together than recommended.

These side effects can include:

  • tummy pain
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • diarrhoea

If you take 1 or more extra dose by mistake or have side effects, call your doctor or pharmacist.

Unused antibiotics

Finish your course of antibiotics to get rid of the infection completely. Do this even if you feel better before the antibiotic course has run out. If you want to stop taking your antibiotics, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not keep any leftover antibiotics. If you have some left over, check with your pharmacy to see if they can dispose of them properly.

Only take antibiotics prescribed to you. Never borrow antibiotics or give them to friends, family or pets.

Related topic

Side effects

page last reviewed: 22/11/2019
next review due: 22/11/2022