Does dealing with multiple prescriptions get confusing? If you or someone you love faces the daunting task of multiple medication management, don’t despair. Follow these 5 steps to manage your medications effectively and safe.
Listen – Be sure to listen carefully when a doctor or other health care professional instructs you about using your medications. Taking them as prescribed will reduce the chances of adverse reactions. Pay close attention to whether or not a medication is to be taken with food, prior to eating, or before sleeping. If anything is not clear, stop and obtain clarifying instructions before you proceed. Do not leave the physician’s office or pharmacy until you understand. Ask about possible side effects and the necessary actions to take if they occur. Don’t worry about annoying your doctor or pharmacist. Get any questions answered while physically present with them.
Get acquainted with your Pharmacist – Be sure they get to know you as well. They will be the primary health care professional assisting you with your medication management practices. They can provide you with up-to-date information regarding dosages, storage, traveling with your medications, and the best method of taking them. They are medication specialists; therefore, get to know them well.
Organize – Organization is the key to effective medication management. Set up your daily medications a week in advance to ensure they get taken on time and in the correct dosage. Use a medication dosage organizer labeled with each day of the week, and with AM and PM dosages. Looking at a bottle filled with pills is a poor way to determine whether or not you have taken that day’s dosage. Automated pill dispensers or even apps for smartphones can remind you when it’s time to take your next medication dosage.
Save Information – Keep a complete record of your medications, their dosages, and when they are taken. Update this record as it changes. Complete and up-to-date records are vital to effective medication management. Take this record with you to every doctor visit, trip to the pharmacy, and in any emergency situation. A complete record of your medications will provide medical professionals with critical information that is necessary to giving you the care you require. Understanding exactly what medications you are taking will help them assess your condition and determine appropriate treatment or medication therapies and avoid adverse drug reactions.
Notice Any Changes – Medications may change with time or when obtaining refills. Sometimes the appearance of a pill may change but its components remain the same. However, errors can occur when prescriptions are being filled. Keep a detailed list of every prescription’s visual characteristics, such as color, shape, imprints, and approximate size. If you notice any changes, contact your pharmacist at once, before taking the medication.
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