Taking prescription medications can greatly increase your quality of life. However, prescription medications can be dangerous if they aren’t taken properly.
Whether you’re taking a single prescription or multiple prescriptions, you’ve just started taking medication or you have been taking it for years, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re being safe every time you swallow a pill.
Watch Out For Recalls and Safety Alerts
Prescription drugs go through a lot of research when they are being developed to make sure they are safe. However, drug trials can only go so far. Sometimes when a drug is released and a larger population starts taking it, dangers become apparent.
It’s important to know what drugs you take and whether or not they have been recalled. You should also know which drugs come with safety alerts. Not only will you want to stop taking the medication as soon as it’s safe to do so, you may have a claim against the pharmaceutical company.
Ask your doctor if you can sign up for alerts through their office, or if they will contact you if the medication you take is ever recalled. You can also search online to see if specific medications have recalls or safety alerts.
Be Aware of Drug Interactions
The medication you are taking may be safe on its own, but you should also be aware of possible drug interactions. The medications you take could be unsafe because of something else you’re taking.
There are three different kinds of drug interactions that include:
- Drug-drug interaction where two or more medications interact with one another. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
- Drug-food and drink interaction, with alcohol being the most common culprit.
- Drug-condition interaction where a health condition could make it dangerous for you to take a certain medication.
It is extremely important to talk to your doctor about possible interactions between the drugs you’re taking, but you should also talk to your pharmacist whenever you buy anything from the pharmacy. That way you can ensure a cold medicine doesn’t interact poorly with another medication you’re taking.
Be Your Own Advocate at Doctor Appointments
Doctors want what’s best for you, but doctors are also busy, and with many patients, it can be hard for physicians to know your health history as thoroughly as they should before they make recommendations or write prescriptions.
You should listen to your doctor, but you should also listen to yourself. You are your best advocate in the doctor’s office. If there’s a medication you’re worried about, if there’s a medication you want to stop taking, and especially if you have questions, you should bring them up with your doctor, regardless of how busy they seem.
Know How to Store Your Meds
Where do you keep your medication? Most people keep their medicine in the cabinet in the bathroom. That’s not the best place.
Temperature can affect the stability of medication. If you don’t follow the directions on the bottle, your medication could be compromised. It could lose its effectiveness, but it could also become dangerous.
Although some medication needs to be refrigerated, most is just fine at room temperature. The problem with the bathroom is that it can get steamy every time you take a shower. Not only is the humidity potentially dangerous to medication, the increase and decrease in temperature in the bathroom can compromise its ingredients. Keep it in a drawer in your bedroom or the kitchen instead.
Make Sure Everything is Labeled
Never take your medication out of its original container. It’s important to make sure that your medication is clearly labeled so you don’t accidentally take the wrong thing while you’re at home. In some cases, like when flying on an airplane, labeled medication may be required.
Using pill organizers is the exception to the rule. Although pills aren’t labeled, containers must be filled every week so you can keep track of what’s what. If you struggle to keep track of your pills or organize them into containers, you may want to ask your pharmacist for pill packaging services. They can individually package each day’s pills in a sealed baggie with each medication and its dosage clearly labeled on the bag.
Prescription medications can greatly increase the quality of your life, but only if you take them safely. From knowing where to store your pills to knowing what other medications you can and cannot take, there are multiple things you can do to make sure your prescriptions keep you safe and healthy.