So you’ve just come from your physician’s office and are on the way to the pharmacy to pick up your prescription. Your health care provider has explained why you’re going to be taking the medication, the pharmacist will ask you if you have any questions, but you get home and want more information.
We all need to take charge of our health and make informed decisions about treatments including prescription or non-prescription medications. If you have questions the first thing to do is contact the physician that prescribed the medication or the pharmacist that dispensed the medication.
According to the CDC:
Medicines cure infectious diseases, prevent problems from chronic diseases, and ease pain. But medicines can also cause harmful reactions if not used correctly. Errors can happen in the hospital, at the doctor’s office, at the pharmacy, or at home. You can help prevent errors by
- Knowing your medicines. Keep a list of the names of your medicines, how much you take, and when you take them. Include over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements and herbs. Take this list to all your doctor visits.
- Reading medicine labels and following the directions. Don’t take medications prescribed for someone else.
- Take extra caution when giving medicines to children.
- Asking questions. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Why am I taking this medicine?
- What are the common problems to watch out for?
- What should I do if they occur?
- When should I stop this medicine?
- Can I take this medicine with the other medicines on my list?
If you are going to the Internet to investigate the medicines that you are prescribed you can find reputable information at MedlinePlus. Learn about your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Includes side effects, dosage, special precautions, and more.
MedlinePlus also has information regarding herbs and supplements. You can browse dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions. If you are using herbs or supplements it is vital that you discuss these with your health care provider as they can affect how your body reacts to prescription medications. Visit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Time to Talk educational campaign for more information.
For information regarding drug recalls visit the FDA.
posted by – Susan, Health Reference