Liquid medications are good for children and adults (especially older adults) who are not able to swallow tablets or capsules. Many liquid medications, including both prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs, are made for children and are flavored to mask the taste of the medication.

Before measuring the proper dose of liquid medication, make sure to shake the bottle as some of the medication may have “settled” at the bottom.

Most often, you will be told to measure the medication using a teaspoon or tablespoon. To a doctor and pharmacist, one teaspoon means 5 mL (milliliters) and one tablespoon means 15mL (milliliters) of medication. Many household spoons are different sizes and hold more or less than 5 mL or 15 mL. Therefore, you might get too much or too little medication on your spoon.

Measure your liquid medication carefully!

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a spoon, medicine cup, medicine dropper, or a syringe without a needle meant specifically for measuring medications. Your pharmacist can show you how to properly use these. Many liquid medications come with a small medicine cup attached to the top of the bottle. Use the little measuring cup or dosage spoon that came with the medicine, or ask one from your pharmacist. Measure liquids at eye level, and note whether the prescription calls for teaspoons or tablespoons. It’s a simple way to ensure you’re taking the correct amount of medicine.

If the medication has been prescribed for an infant or young child, make sure to speak with your pediatrician about the proper dosage, or amount, of liquid medication for your child.