Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe.
Have you ever had a problem with your medicines? You are not alone. There are so many things to keep track of. For example, you may have asked yourself:
When exactly should I take my medicine?
Is it safe to take vitamins when I take a prescription medicine?
Now that I feel better, can I stop taking this medicine?
Medicine is prescribed to help you. But it can hurt if you take too much or mix medicines that don’t go together. Many people have problems each year, some serious, because of taking the wrong medicine or not taking the right medicines correctly.
You can help yourself get the best results by being a part or your “health care team.” Your health care team includes:
The doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or other professionals who prescribe your medicine or are in charge of your care.
A nurse who helps you at home, a doctor’s office, or a hospital.
The pharmacist who fills your prescription and can answer questions about your medicines.
Four Ways To Be Smart and Safe with Medicines
1. Give Your Health Care Team Important Information
Be a partner with your health care team. Tell them about all the medicines, vitamins, herbals, and dietary supplements you’re taking. This includes:
Medicines you can buy without a prescription, such as aspirin, diet pills, antacids, laxatives, allergy medicine, and cough medicine.
Vitamins, including multivitamins.
Dietary or herbal supplements such as St. John’s wort or gingko biloba.
2. Get the Facts About Your Medicine
Ask questions about every new prescription medicine. Get the answers you need from your health care team before you take your medicine.
If your doctor writes your prescription by hand, make sure you can read it. If you can’t read your doctor’s handwriting, your pharmacist might not be able to either. If your doctor submits your prescription directly to the pharmacy, ask for a copy.
Ask your doctor to write down on the prescription why you need the medicine… for example, not just “take once a day” but “take once a day for high blood pressure.”
If you have other questions or concerns:
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Write questions down ahead of time and bring them to your appointment.
By asking questions now, you may prevent problems later.
Write your questions down ahead of time. Keep a list of questions you want to ask your health care team. Take the list to your appointment.
Be sure to write down what your health care team tells you about your medicine so you remember later.
Bring a friend or family member with you when you visit the doctor. Talking over what to do with someone you trust can help you make better decisions.
Try to use the same pharmacy so all your prescription records will be in one place.
Read and save the information that comes with your medicine. It’s often stapled to the bag from the pharmacy.
Keep a list of all the medicines, vitamins, and dietary supplements or herbs you take. Add new medicines to the list when you start taking something new or when a dose changes. Show the list to your doctor and the pharmacist.
Make a copy of your list. Keep one copy and give the other to a family member or friend
Store all medicines together in one designated location in a dry and cool place. The kitchen and the bathroom are bad places to store medicine because of heat and moisture.
Make sure medicine does not freeze if you store it in the refrigerator.
Throw away any medicine that has expired or that your doctor has discontinued. (Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on how to throw away your specific medication.)
3. Stay With Your Treatment Plan
Now that you have the right medicine, you’ll want to carry out the treatment plan. That’s not always easy. Medicines may cause side effects. Or you may feel better and want to stop before finishing your medicines.
Take all the antibiotics you were prescribed. If you are taking an antibiotic to fight an infection, it is very important to take all of your medicine for as long as your doctor prescribed even if you feel better. If you don’t finish, the infection could come back and be harder to treat.
Ask your doctor if your prescription needs to be refilled. If you are take medicine for high blood pressure or to lower your cholesterol, you may need your medicine for a long time.
If you are having side effects or other concerns, tell your doctor. You may be able to take a different amount or type of medicine.
Your medicine was prescribed only for you. Never give your prescription medicine to anyone else or take prescription medicine that wasn’t prescribed for you, even if you have the same medical condition.
Ask whether you need blood tests, x-rays, or other tests to find out if the medicine is working, if it’s causing any problems, and if you need a different medicine. Ask your doctor to tell you what the tests showed.
You can get help:
At work, there may be a nurse on site.
At school, a nurse may be able to help your child take medicines on time and safely.
At home, a visiting nurse may be able to help you.
Friends and family can help by:
Going with you to the doctor. Ask them to write down information about your medicines and treatment plan.
Picking up your medicine. Have them show the pharmacist your list of medicines, vitamins, and supplements. They should ask, “Will this new medicine work safely with the other medicines?”
Calling regularly to remind you to take your medicine on time. If you are have problems, let them know.
Keeping a daily record of medicine and the time of day so you won’t take it twice.
4. Keep a Record of Your Medicines
Brown Bag – Medication Check Up
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9am – 12pm
Edward White Hospital, 2323 9th Ave North, St. Petersburg, FL
Appointments will be offered every 15 minutes between 9a – 12noon.
Bring all medications (including Rx, over the counter, herbal products) for an informative review by Kristie Wallace, Edward White Hospital Pharmacist.
Reservations Required. Call 1 877 442 2362