Be Smart about your Medicine Usage
by MedPlus Team, April 3, 2015
Do you take medicines or supplements? They are prescribed to help you overcome certain medical conditions or to supplement nutrients or hormones that you lack or don’t have enough of. However, if you are not properly informed, either take too much or too little, mix up medicines that are incompatible, or do not take proper precautions in their storage and disposal, they can cause you irreparable harm.
Here are some guidelines for how to be a smart medicine user:
Maintain a record of all medicines and supplements you use: Whether, prescription, OTC, herbal, ayurvedic, homeopathic, or any other substance with the purported medicinal claim. Share this information with your doctor and update them on every visit if there is a change. It is important for your doctor or nurse to know what all medications you are using, to identify if any of them are causing a problem or if they will react with the medicines he or she is about to prescribe. Also keep a copy of the record with one of your close relatives, in case there is an emergency and you are not able to access your own copy.
When you visit a doctor, apart from all the medicines you are taking, make sure you tell them about any allergies or reactions you have had in the past, any family history of allergies to certain medications, or if you are pregnant. It is advisable to read drug facts, side effects and other important details related to medicines you are taking. These things will impact the medicines you are being prescribed.
Every time a new medicine is prescribed, make sure you ask questions and get detailed instructions about its usage. When to take it, with food or without, how long to use it for, and/or any other precautions to be taken while using the medicine.
Be sure you are purchasing your medicines from a trusted brand store and the medicines you purchase have the medicine and manufacturing company name clearly visible. Make sure the batch number and expiry date is clearly mentioned, in case they need to be tracked for any problems that may occur. Follow these precautions when you buy medicines online.
Make sure you store all the medicines in one location, away from the reach of children. Most medicines have to be stored in a cool and dry place away from excess heat and moisture. Bathrooms and kitchens are generally bad places to store your medicine for the above reasons. If a medicine needs to be refrigerated, make sure it does not freeze.
Take the medicines exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t take more or less of it. Report to your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any reaction or if the side effects are not getting better or getting worse. If you are taking an antibiotic, make sure you finish the course prescribed even if you are better.
Don’t use a medicine beyond its expiry date. Discard all expired and discontinued medicines to prevent accidental ingestion.