Over two-thirds of all visits to the doctor result in going home with a prescription. Prescription medication is an important part of health care today, especially for those with chronic illnesses. But with so many prescriptions, it could accidentally lead to medication mishaps. With access to over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements, it can be dangerous if your medications are not managed correctly.
Understanding Your Medication
Here’s how to make sure your medication helps you rather than hurts you:
Ask your doctor about any medication prescribed.
Doctors are quick to write prescriptions, but first ask:
- Why you’re being prescribed a particular drug?
- What are possible side effects?
- Are there other available options to treat your condition?
- What are possible interactions with other drugs?
- Best ways to store the medicine?
- How you’ll know if it’s working?
Take medicine as directed
It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking medicine to avoid any medication mishaps. Don’t skip doses or stop taking a medication without first talking with your doctor. Also don’t take more than recommended, since some drugs can quickly result in overdoses. You should get rid of medication once it’s no longer needed or has expired. Don’t save it “just in case you need it” later.
Keep a medication list
This should include all medicines you use, including prescriptions, OTC drugs, vitamins and supplements. Note the names and dosage. Be sure to share this information with any doctor you see and any pharmacy you use.
Review your drugs yearly
Go over all medicines, vitamins and supplements you take each year with your doctor to make sure you’re only taking what you need.
Need More Guidance
Overwhelmed and afraid of a medication mishap? Our providers can help with medication management to ease the stress.
Dispose of medications safely
Once a medication has expired or is no longer needed, you should dispose of it to lower the chance that someone accidentally or intentionally misuses the medication. Mix medications with kitty litter, dirt or coffee grounds before disposing in the trash. We offer a safe way to dispose of unwanted medications at our Education Resource Center located on Lee Street.
Never take someone else’s medicine
It may seem harmless to take someone else’s prescription, but it can be dangerous to do so. The medication may interact with other drugs you take or may impact a health condition in a way you don’t know about. If you think you need medication, talk to your doctor.
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