How to Avoid Any Mistakes With Meds
Every year, millions of Americans get the wrong drugs at pharmacies or don’t take them correctly at home, sometimes leading to life-threatening health problems. Here are tips from pharmacists on staying safe:
* Understand what you’re taking. When your doctor writes a prescription, ask about the name – including the spelling – and dosage, how often to take the drug, why it will help you and possible side effects.
* Look at labels. When you pick up a prescription, check right away to see if the label matches the information your doctor gave you. If it’s a refill, open the bottle and make sure the pills look like what you’ve gotten before.
* Store drugs properly. Keep medicine out of direct sunlight and hot and humid places. Also keep it in its original containers or a pill reminder box.
* Get organized. If you often skip doses accidentally, put medicine in a daily pill reminder box or write yourself notes. Also take it at the same time each day to create a habit.
* Turn on the lights. Never take medicine in the dark, when you might mix up pills. It’s also wise to keep prescriptions separate from look-alike products – a tube of ointment away from toothpaste, for example, or a bottle of pills away from aspirin.
* Keep lists. Write down the name and dosage of all medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and show those to your doctor. Some can interact negatively with each other.
* Follow instructions. Never stop taking a medicine early without a doctor’s approval, even if you’re feeling better. Also don’t take a drug prescribed to another person – even if it’s for the same problem – or a medication that has expired.
(c) 2008 Bismarck Tribune. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.