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Medication Safety Tips (Part 1)

Written by Courteney

Posted on November 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm


Modern medications are responsible for vastly improving healthcare and life longevity, however, they are certainly far from risk free. When used correctly and appropriately, medications can save lives and better thousands of health conditions, but there is always the potential for toxicity due to accidental misuse or overdose, drug interactions or unsafe use of certain medications (such as while pregnant). The CDC reports over 700,000 medication-related ER visits annually in the United States. Many medication mishaps are preventable by following these key safety steps:

  1. Pay close attention to the directions as well as your pharmacist’s tips. It is estimated that between 20-50% of patients don’t take their medications properly, resulting in potentially fatal mix-ups. For example, some medications are only to be taken once weekly and taking them daily could be dangerous. It is extremely important to ensure you know the correct directions and dosage of each of your medications. Do not crush or alter the medication in any way unless it says so on the container.
  2. Make a list and check it twice! If you can’t name all your drugs and dosages, you should keep a list handy in your wallet or purse of all your medications and prescribed dosages to show a new pharmacist, doctor, nurse or in case of emergency.
  3. Think before reaching for OTC medications. Though many people don’t take OTC medications as seriously as they do prescription pills, OTC drugs also carry significant risks if misused such as internal bleeding or liver damage. There are many that can interact with prescribed medications, worsen pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, or conflict with other commonly used OTC medications.
  4. Treat Supplements like medications. Most people think supplements are “no biggy”, but they can actually be pretty dangerous when taken incorrectly or with the wrong medications or medical conditions. Some supplements can even render your medication ineffective. It is also important to tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking or wish to take.
  5. Keep an eye on any new side effects. You don’t need to be alarmed or too worried about listed side effects of medications as most of them are quite rare. However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on any changes you notice since taking the new medication and let your doctor or pharmacist know at your next appointment. If the side effects are serious, seek emergency treatment right away.

Well there you have the first few of our medication do’s and don’ts. Keep an eye out for Part 2 next.  Thanks for visiting DocChat! Remember, our board-certified physicians are on standby 24/7/365 if you have any medical or medication related inquiries.

 

 

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