As we grow older, for most of us the number of medicines we take each day seems to increase steadily. Age related diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, heart ailments all require multiple tablets to keep in check. Follow the rules given below to ensure that you take the right medication at the right time. Remember, the medicines you are taking are probably life-saving drugs and it is important that you are diligent in following all the instructions given by the doctor and those written on the labels.
- Read the label carefully.
- Check that the medicine is not older than the use by date. Expired drugs may not be as effective.
- Find out what the medicine is for and why it has been prescribed for you.
- Understand and follow the dosage, direction and timing directives properly.
- Always inform the doctor about all the other medications you are taking.
- Read the contra-indications carefully and look out for the side-effects whenever you start on a new medicine.
- Complete the whole course prescribed by the doctor.
- If you miss a dose, take it immediately. If you remember only at the time of the next dose, do not double dose.
- Start any new medicine course during the day time, if possible.
- Store your medicine in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Make sure that those medicines that need to be refrigerated are always stored in the refrigerator.
- Always ensure that the medicine you buy is of the prescribed strength. There is a world of difference between 25mg and say, 50mg or 100mg.
- Use a pill box with day-of-week slots to sort and store medicine to be taken each week.
- Do not take your medication in the dark.
- Do not powder pills unless the doctor has recommended it. Some tablets are meant to be slow release tablets and powdering them may speed up absorption and lead to unwanted complications.
- Do not share medicines with other.
- Do not take the first dose of any new medication in the night if you can avoid it.
- If the pharmacist does not have the medicine prescribed by the doctor, ask the doctor for an alternative drug. Do not go by the pharmacist’s recommendation.