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Medication Directions

Medication Directions

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Give accurate directions for medication use.

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what's covered
In this lesson, you will learn expressions in Spanish that will help you give accurate directions for medication use. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
  1. Direcciones para Tomar las Recetas (Directions for Taking Prescriptions)
    1. La Cantidad (Quantity)
    2. Frequency (La Frecuencia)
    3. ¿Cómo? (How?)
    4. ¿Por qué? (Why?)

1. Direcciones para Tomar las Recetas (Directions for Taking Prescriptions)

When advising patients on how to take medication, simply say, Tome usted... or just Tome…' and fill in the blanks with quantity and frequency, telling them when and how to take it.

You can take the following expressions and make any necessary modifications using what you have learned so far.

1a. La Cantidad (Quantity)

You will first need to tell the patient how much to take.

English Spanish Pronunciation
one ounce una onza oo-nah own-sah
two ounces, etc. dos onzas dohs own-sahs
...and a half ...y media …ee may-dee-ah
a fourth of... un cuarto de... oon k'warr-toe day…
a third of... una tercera de... oo-nah tare-say-rah day…
a half of... la mitad de... la me-todd day
one tablespoon una cucharada oo-nah koo-cha-rah-dah
two tablespoons dos cucharadas dohs koo-chah-rah-dahs
one teaspoon una cucharita oo-nah koo-cha-ree-tah
two teaspoons dos cucharitas dohs koo-cha-ree-tahs
one drop una gota oo-nah go-tah
two drops dos gotas dohs go-tahs
one dropper full un gotero lleno oon go-tay-rah yay-no
two droppers full dos goteros llenos dohs go-tay-rahs yay-nohs
one applicator full un aplicador lleno oon ah-plee-kah-dooryay-no
two applicators full dos aplicadores llenos dohs ah-plee-kah-door-ace yay-nohs
a liter un litro oon lee-troh
a milliliter un mililitro oon me-lee-lee-troh
a gram un gramo oon grah-ma
a milligram un miligramo oon me-lee-grah-moe
¼ tablet un cuarto de tableta oon k'warr-toe day tah-blay-tah
½ tablet una mitad de tableta oo-nah me-todd day tah-blay-tah
one tablet una tableta oo-nah tah-blay-tah
two tablets dos tabletas dohs tah-blay-tahs
one pill una píldora oo-nah peel-door-ah
two pills dos píldoras dohs peel-door-ahs
one capsule una cápsula oo-nah cop-sue-lah
two capsules dos cápsulas dohs cop-sue-lahs

1b. La Frecuencia (Frequency)

You will also need to tell the patient when to take the medicine.

English Spanish Pronunciation
once daily una vez al día oo-nah base all dee-ah
twice daily dos veces al día dohs bay-sace all dee-ah
three times daily tres veces al día trace bay-sace all dee-ah
(#) times a day (#) veces al día (#) bay-sace all dee-ah
every other day / every two days cada dos días kah-dah dohs dee-ahs
once weekly / once a week una vez a la semana oo-nah base ah la say-ma-nah
twice weekly / twice a week dos veces a la semana dohs bay-sace ah la say-ma-nah
(#) times a week (#) veces a la semana (#) bay-sace ah la say-ma-nah
until gone hasta que no hay más ah-stah kay no eye mahs
every (#) hours cada (#) horas kah-dah (#) oh-rahs
every four hours cada cuatro horas kah-da k'wah-troh oh-rahs
every six hours cada seis horas kah-da sace oh-rahs
every four to six hours cada cuatro a seis horas kah-dah k’wah-troh ah sace oh-rahs

1c. ¿Cómo? (How?)

You will also need to tell the patient how to take the medicine.

English Spanish Pronunciation
as directed by your doctor como dirigido por su doctor ko-mo dee-ree-he-doe pour sue doke-tore
as needed… si la necesite… see la nay-say-see-tay...
…for pain …para el dolor pa-rah ale doe-lore
when you have... (pain, etc.) cuando tenga...(dolor de, etc.) k'wann-doe tain-gah… (doe-lore day)
only when you need it sólo cuando lo necesite so-lo k'wann-doe nay-say-see-tay lo
in the morning / afternoon / evening por la mañana / tarde / noche pour la mahn-ya-nah / tar-day / no-chay
before bedtime antes de acostarse ahn-tace day ah-ko-star-say
right now ahora mismo ah-oar-ah meece-mo
by mouth por boca pour bow-kah
with meals con las comidas cone lahs ko-me-dahs
with food con un alimento / con comida cone oon ah-lee-main-toe
/ cone ko-me-dah
after meals después de las comidas dace-p'wace day lahs ko-me-dahs
before meals antes de las comidas ahn-tace day lahs ko-me-dahs
before breakfast antes del desayuno ahn-tace dale day-sah-you-no
after supper después de la cena dace-p'wace day la say-nah
with lunch con el almuerzo cone ale all-m'ware-so
between meals entre las comidas ain-tray lahs ko-me-dahs
on an empty stomach en ayunas ain ah-you-nahs
with water con agua cone ah-g'wah
mixed with food mezclada con un alimento mace-klah-dah cone oon ah-lee-main-toe
mixed with liquids mezclada con líquidos mace-klah-dah cone lee-key-dohs
when you take / eat / drink... cuando tome... k'wann-doe toe-may

1d. ¿Por qué? (Why?)

Often, especially when getting more than one prescription, a patient does not know why they are taking each. This section will help you in explaining the reasons why.

English Spanish Pronunciation
for cough para la tos pa-rah la tohs
for infection para la infección pa-rah la een-fake-see-own
for nerves para los nervios pa-rah lohs nair-be-ohs
for stomach para el estómago pa-rah ale ace-toe-ma-go
for arthritis para la artritis pa-rah la are-tree-tiece
for circulation para la circulación pa-rah la seer-koo-la-see-own
for relaxing the muscles para relajar los músculos pa-rah ray-la-har lohs moose-koo-lohs
for the alleviation of pain para aliviar el dolor pa-rah ah-lee-bee-are ale doe-lore
in order to lower your… para bajar su… pa-rah ba-harr sue
…blood pressure …presión de sangre …pray-see-own day sahn-gray
…blood sugar level ...nivel de azúcar en la sangre …nee-bail day ah-sue-car ain la sahn-gray
…cholesterol …colesterol …koh-lace-tay-role

As you can see, you can put almost anything after para, which means for. You can list a body part, a symptom, a condition, a verb (aliviar = alleviate, relajar = relax, bajar = lower), etc.

In this lesson, you learned some general expressions that will allow you to give accurate directions for taking prescriptions in Spanish. You also learned specific phrases that will help you communicate the quantity of a medication and frequency with which a patient should take it, as well as how and why the patient needs to take the medication.

¡Buena suerte!

Source: This content has been adapted from "Pharmacy Spanish" by Stephanie Langston.