Managing Medications: Taking care of your Health
Medications can play a helpful role in your health or the health of a person you are caring for but keeping track of more than one medication can be difficult. When do you take them? Will they interact with each other? Here are some tips that will make managing medication easier.
Keep Track of All types of Medicines!
*Track prescription medication and over-the-counter medicines. Also, track vitamins, supplements, herbs, natural and homeopathic medicines.
*Over-the-counter medicines (like cold medicine and pain relievers) may interact with prescription drugs. Vitamins, supplements and herb can have side effects and interact with other medicines too.
*For safety, tell your health care provider about all medicines. Talk about alcohol or tobacco use too, because they can interact with some medications.
Understand why you need each medicine.
*If you are not sure what a specific medicine is for, ask the doctor or pharmacist.
*Make sure you follow the doctor’s instructions exactly. Don’t stop medicines unless the doctor says to do so.
*Ask what you should do if you miss a dose or take too much.
Use a list or chart for tracking medicines.
*Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a pre-made list or chart or make one yourself.
*Include the drug’s name, how much you take (dose) how often you take it (frequency) and special instructions.
*You can also include a description (for example: small pink pill with letter “H”). Or tape a sample of the medicine to the list or chart.
*Keep the information you get with the medicine. Store it with the chart or in another convenient location.
Take your list of medications to every appointment.
*It is important for every doctor (including eye doctors and dentists) to know all of the medications a patient is taking.
*Take your list to doctor appointments. Put a copy on the refrigerator so it is easy to find in case of an emergency.
*Make sure all family members or caregivers know where the list is kept.
Consider using a calendar or other reminder system.
*A calendar can help you track what to take and at what time.
*Pill organizers and containers can be very helpful for some people.
*Ask your pharmacist or doctor before using pill organizers. They are not advised for some medicines.
Store medicines as directed.
*Some medicines need to be refrigerated. Others should not exposed to air, heat or light. Read the labels or ask your pharmacist.
*Make sure all medicines are out of reach of children and pets.
*Check expiation dates. Order refills with plenty of time so that you don’t run out.
Make sure you understand possible side effects.
*Some medicines should not be mixed with other medicines, alcohol or certain foods.
*As about changes in medications or new starting a new medication, talk to the doctor or nurse right away.
Ask one doctor (such as a family doctor or internist) to periodically review all medications. Ask if any medicines are no longer needed.
If possible, get your medicines from the same pharmacy. It will easier for the pharmacist to answer your questions if he or she has a record of all of your medications.
Many people need to take more than one type of medication of their health. Look inside for tips on how to organize and track your medications. If you have questions or concerns about medications you are taking, talk with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist.
Bergen-Hudson Chronic Disease Coalition
Disclaimer: This information was taken from the pamphlet from the Bergen-Hudson Chronic Disease Coalition and published of Journeyworks Publishing. Please email or call them for more information.