Understanding your prescription: how to take medication safely

Following your medication routine (or adhering to your medication regimen) involves taking your prescriptions exactly as prescribed in the given dose, at the prescribed time, in the prescribed manner, and with the prescribed regularity. Not taking your medications as prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist can cause your illness to progress, your hospitalization or even your death.

Taking your medications as prescribed or following your medication regimen is essential to controlling chronic conditions, treating transient conditions, and maintaining long-term health and well-being.

A personal relationship with your doctor or pharmacist is essential for medication adherence. However, you play the most vital role in safely taking all your prescriptions.

What you need to know about your prescription drugs

Consult your health care provider before starting treatment with any new medicine. Discuss if you have any allergies and side effects you have experienced with other medications, such as rashes, difficulty breathing, indigestion, headaches, or mood changes.

Additionally, you will want to determine if you will need to adjust or discontinue any of your existing prescription or over-the-counter medications while using this new medication. The combination of certain drugs can lead to unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects.

Therefore, it is very important to keep a list of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take: print and complete the Medication Tracking Worksheet to help you keep track of your medications.

When you start a new medicine, be sure to record the name of the medicine and the reason it was prescribed for you. Also, take note of any additional instructions for taking the medication safely. Finally, ask if they accept prescription discount cards .

How can a pharmacist help you understand your prescription?

A pharmacist can help you understand prescribed medications . Try to fill all your prescriptions at the same pharmacy to keep track of them. This will alert the pharmacist if a new drug interacts with anything you are already taking.

  • Confirm that you can read and understand the name of the medication, as well as the directions on the container and the color-coded warning labels on the vial. If the label is difficult to read, ask your pharmacist to print it in large print.
  • Tell the pharmacist if you have difficulty swallowing tablets. Liquid medications may be available. Do not break, chew or crush the tablets without ensuring that the medicine is still effective.
  • Ask about specific storage guidelines for a medication. For example, should it be refrigerated or stored in a dry place?

Take your medications safely

Taking your medications safely and as prescribed by your health care provider ensures that you will get the most benefit from them. Here are some tips to help you take your medications safely:

follow the instructions

Read the labels of all medications. Confirm that you are taking your medications correctly. For example, avoid using an over-the-counter cough and cold syrup if you just have a runny nose and aren't coughing.

Good dosage

Do not increase the dose of medication in the mistaken belief that it will be more beneficial to you. It can be extremely harmful, even fatal. Avoid skipping or taking half prescription drugs to save money. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you cannot afford the drugs; there may be an alternative.

Take your medications on the right schedule.

Some people use mealtimes or bedtimes as reminders to take their medications . Others use charts or timelines. Additionally, you can set timers and create written reminders to take your medications.

Turn on the light.

Avoid taking medicine in the dark; otherwise, you risk misdosing or getting the wrong bottle or pill. It may seem like a small task to do when you're just drinking your medicine; however, prevention is better than cure, and it is certainly better to err on the side of caution.

Report if there are any issues

Contact your doctor immediately if you have any problems with your prescription medications or are concerned that they are causing more harm than a good result. You may have another option.

Check before you stop.

Most of the time, people who take their medication buy the prescribed medication and stop as soon as they feel better or they already feel "cured" from taking the medication. However, you should check before stopping. Keep taking the prescription medicine until it runs out or your doctor tells you it's safe to stop. Also note that some medications should only be taken 'as needed'.

No to sharing

Avoid taking medication prescribed for another person or giving yours to another. The reason for this is to open up the possibility of having an allergic reaction to the shared prescription, or worse, serious side effects.

It is better to advise the person who asks you for your medication to go to the doctor to properly examine his general state of health. Guessing what is going on in their body by asking for the prescribed medication you have is strongly discouraged when they think you both have the same symptoms or illness.

Be very prepared

When you travel, make sure you have enough medication for the duration of your trip, plus extra in case your return is delayed.

Tell your doctor about your alcohol, tobacco and drug use.

Alcohol, smoke, and other drugs can all interfere with the effectiveness of your medications. There are several types of reactions that a patient might experience if he had the following vices while taking a prescribed medicine without informing his doctor.

So telling your doctor the truth about your vices and how much you use them is crucial.

Check before choosing

Before deciding on a meal time for your routine, check with your doctor to find out whether your prescription should be taken on an empty or full stomach.

Final Thoughts

It's best to have a positive relationship and connection with your health care provider, who can help you take prescribed medications properly. If you take your medications according to the instructions on the label, this indicates that you are taking them sufficiently and effectively. If an unpleasant sensation or circumstance persists, consult your doctor.