If you are new to taking prescription drugs or are taking many prescriptions at once, chances are you have a few questions concerning your medicines. Medications can benefit you greatly when taken as prescribed, but they can also cause you much damage if you do not ensure proper dosage or do not read the label carefully. Here are some helpful tips to better guarantee your safety:
- Make a list of your current medications, and make a copy for your doctor. This way you can be sure that any new medications you are prescribed do not give you any adverse side effects.
- Either ask your doctor or visit a trustworthy web site that will give you information about the dosage and possible side effects of the prescriptions you are taking.
- Keep your prescriptions in their original containers and do not store similar looking medicines together to ensure that nothing gets mixed up.
- Check the container's label at each dosage to make sure that you are taking the correct medicine at the prescribed dosage.
- Take medications exactly as instructed, and at the times instructed. Crushing, chewing, or taking capsules whole may alter the effects of the medication. Take only the prescribed dosage of your medication; taking too much could be harmful to you. Some foods and drinks such as alcohol or soda can have a negative effect on your medication, so if you are concerned about a certain item, ask your doctor whether it would be safe. Water can usually be safely taken with all medication; however, if you are taking aspirin, milk would be the better choice. Other medications react better when taken with food.
- Always measure your liquid medications to make sure that you are neither taking too little or too much.
- Never take medications that have been prescribed for others, and never share your own medications with anyone else.
- Keep all prescription drugs out of the reach of children. When disposing of expired medications or medications that are no longer needed, make sure to flush them down the toilet so that no children or pets get a hold of them.
- Store your medications in a place that is nowhere close to any household chemicals, and store ointments away from toothpaste to ensure that nothing is mistaken for something else.
- Store medications in an environment that is dry and cool. Do not store your medicines in a bathroom cabinet, because the heat and humidity can affect the life and safety of prescriptions. Instead, store them at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Some medications require refrigeration, so if you are unsure as to where to store them, ask your doctor.
- Post the name and number of your doctor somewhere in your home in case of an emergency. You may also considering putting the same name and number in your purse or wallet in case of an emergency outside of your home.
- Pay attention to expiration dates on your medications. When prescriptions expire, they may become ineffective or even harmful to you. Periodically inspect you medicine cabinet for medicines that have changed color or produced an odor.
- Always be open with your doctor. Inform your doctor about the previous medications you have been on and about any dietary supplements or any alternative medicines you have recently taken. If you have any questions or concerns about symptoms or medications be sure to discuss these with your doctor before deciding to begin or end a medication. Your doctor is there to help you, but he can only effectively help you if you supply him with adequate medical information.
By taking the time to do these simple things, you will be able to better ensure your safety. Remember to take precautions when dealing with even the simplest medications, because you can never be too careful when dealing with your health.