English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

"If you have severe psoriasis or it's resistant to other types of treatment, your doctor may prescribe oral or injected drugs. Because of severe side effects, some of these medications are used for only brief periods and may be alternated with other forms of treatment."

Does it mean when oral medicine is taken the other forms of medicines are not allowed to be used or oral medicine is taken while using other types of medicine.

Which of my interpretations is correct?

share|improve this question

Alternate in this sense means, given two states, A and B, for one period of time A must be on, and B must be off, then for the next period of time B must be on, and A must be off. Then repeat.

Drugs (oral or injected) may used for brief periods, then discontinued in favor of other forms of treatment for a period of time, after which drugs may be recontinued.

share|improve this answer

Neither interpretation is correct.

The elements being alternated are:

  1. (oral or injected) drugs
  2. other forms of treatment

Put another way:

  • In extreme cases, the doctor may recommend adding oral or injected drugs to other treatments like light therapy, diet change, ointments, etc.
  • Because these oral or injected drugs have "severe side effects", they will not be used for very long.

  • Because these drugs aren't supposed to be injected or ingested over extended periods of time, the patient will occasionally be solely under "other forms of treatment", effectively "alternating" between these harsher methods and those that are not risky to keep doing for a long time.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.