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Do I use articles with medical conditions and medications?

Don’t use articles with medical conditions (as shown in the example above) or medication names.

When talking about medical conditions or the names of medications, you don’t need to use articles so we’ve demonstrated the best practices for articles in the examples found below.

Medical conditions

All of these conditions do not take an article:

  • cancer
  • hypertension
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • dementia
  • Chron’s disease
  • diabetes
  • jaundice
  • eczema
  • hay fever
  • depression
  • epilepsy

As an aside, if the condition has been named after the person who first diagnosed it, then this person’s name is capitalised. Make sure you’re capitalising the right letters.

Medication names

No article is used when describing medication names. Take a look at these examples:

  • Mr Khan has been prescribed Mylanta and warfarin.
  • Mr X has started taking Augmentin Duo Forte.

The only exception to this rule for medication is when a patient is making a specific request for one dose of something, usually a painkiller. For example: “Can I have a Panadol?”

Special Punctuation Rule!

Are you wondering why Mylanta is capitalized, but warfarin is not from the example above?

Branded medications with trade names, such as Panadol, Ritalin, Lipitor must be capitalized.

Generic medications, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, nicotine, codeine are not capitalized.

But don’t worry! You will not be penalised in the Writing test if you don’t know the difference. Remember, this is an English Language proficiency test, not a test of your medical knowledge.

Classes of drugs are considered countable nouns and are expressed in the plural with no article when speaking of them in general. You can see some examples below:

  • He was commenced on oral antibiotics.
  • Initially, Mr X was given anti-inflammatories to reduce the pain.

Use these tips to help you determine when a medication or a medical condition requires an article.