Medication mistakes you’re probably making
SEE ALSO: Ministry to employ 5,700 new medicsNot getting clear instructions Most errors with medication can be avoided by listening to the doctor and the pharmacist’s instructions. Don’t be shy about asking your doctor what each medication is for and how it works. Then ask if there are any contraindications for prescribed drugs. Similarly, have a chat with the pharmacist and ask them any questions you have about the medication. What does it treat? Does it have side effects you should know about? Can you drink alcohol when still taking the drugs? Can you take it when pregnant or while breastfeeding? How does it interact with other drugs/supplements you’re taking? If you have been on the medication for a while and have noticed unexplained changes (such as a rash or nausea) it’s also advisable to ask the doctor or pharmacist if the drug is to blame. If so, you can request a change in prescription. Not finishing the dose
SEE ALSO: County to recruit 16 special doctorsFor example, there are some drugs which shouldn’t be taken with calcium-rich foods. This is because the calcium can interfere with how the drug is absorbed in your body. This is why doctors recommend that you avoid milk and yogurt when taking drugs such as tetracycline, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin. One of the foods to watch out for when on medication is grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Apparently, grapefruit interferes with proteins in the small intestines and liver that normally break down medications. If you combine grapefruit and medication, you might have higher levels of the medication in your bloodstream. This can lead to more side effects. However, a 2013 review of different studies didn’t show if there were significant adverse effects from grapefruit-medication interaction. Drinking while on medication is also a no-no. Alcohol can affect the way your body metabolises drugs. This can lead to more side effects such as nausea, vomiting, sedation, unconsciousness and even death. Check with your doctor regarding which foods to avoid when taking any medication. Taking other people’s medication Your sister had the symptoms you have. Therefore, it makes sense to just share the medication they were prescribed, right? Wrong. This is a dangerous mistake. Firstly, even if you are exhibiting similar symptoms, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are suffering from the same illness. Secondly, medication is usually prescribed to suit the specific patient. The doctor takes into account factors such as age, gender, weight, medical history and so on. Therefore, taking someone else’s “left over” meds can delay your seeing the doctor for a proper diagnosis and prescription. Poor storage of medication Other than “keep out of children’s reach”, there are other rules to remember when it comes to storing your drugs. If you keep all your medication in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, that has to change. Fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels in the bathroom can degrade your medications. The best way to store most medications is in a dry, dark place which is neither too hot nor too cold. Certain drugs such as insulin might also need to be refrigerated. Poor disposal of prescription drugs What do you do with medications that you no longer need? You could ask your local pharmacist if they can buy them back from you. You could also donate them to other patients with similar prescription. Prescription drugs can be very expensive, so don’t throw them away if they aren’t expired. When it comes to throwing away expired medication, put it in a plastic bag with spoiled food – this will discourage children from eating them. Don’t flush medication down the toilet or sink. Some kinds of medications can be harmful to the environment.
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