As we age, it becomes more likely that additional medicines are being used which can increase the chance of harmful drug effects or interactions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges older adults to use caution when taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Physical changes as you age can affect the way medicines are handled by your body. Hearthstone Communities in Woodstock offers medication management if and when daily assistance with medical needs is required.
Here are 5 things you should know about medication safety:
1. Be aware of potential drug interactions and side effects.
Carefully read drug labels and review any special instructions with your health care provider. If you are seeing more than one health care provider, tell each one about all medications you are currently taking.
2. Minimize risks if you buy online.
Many people purchase prescription drugs online to save money, so it is important to be aware of risks involved. Purchase from a licensed pharmacy to avoid counterfeit, expired, or otherwise unsafe medications.
3. Properly store your medications as directed.
The National Institutes for Health (NIH) cautions that improper storage techniques can damage your medications. Some drugs require refrigeration, but those that don’t should be stored in a cool, dry place. The NIH recommends taking the cotton ball out of the medicine bottle after opening and keep pills and other medications in their original containers.
4. Take as directed.
This may seem like an obvious tip. However, one common mistake that people make is stopping a medication before the prescription is finished, or skipping a dose. Medicine is more effective and less likely to cause complications when taken correctly.
5. Keep a medication list.
Write down the medicines you are taking and keep the list with you. Your list should include the medicine’s brand name or, if applicable, the generic name, and write down why you’re taking each medication and how often.