Staying Safe with Medications

Staying safe with medicines

It is an alarming fact but medications can be dangerous or even fatal if taken in the wrong doses or if they are mixed with other drugs. Sometimes the reaction is harmless (i.e. stomach upset or a rash), but other times it can be a lot more serious (i.e. breathing problems, anaphylactic shock, heart attack).

While your Doctor or Pharmacist will take great care to recommend a medicine that is suitable for you, it is worth asking some questions before taking the medicine to ensure your safety. Some key questions to ask are:
• What is the medication supposed to do?
• Can I take it with other drugs or complimentary medicines?
• Do I have to take it with food or on an empty stomach?
• Should I avoid other foods or beverages?
• Should I avoid certain situations (i.e. driving, operating machinery or being in the sun)?
• What are the possible side effects?
• What should I do if I miss a dose?
• What should I do if I accidentally overdose?

As well as asking your pharmacist lots of questions, you should also provide them with some information as well, such as:
• Whether you are taking other medication, including painkillers, herbal preparations and vitamins
• Whether you have had a reaction to a medicine in the past
• Whether you have a food allergy or intolerance.
• Other things to be mindful when taking medications:

DO
• Develop a good relationship with your pharmacist
• Take the entire course of medicine in the correct dosage
• Store medicines away from children and pets
• Keep medicines in their original containers with the original labels
• Report any side effects
• Seek medical advice if your condition does not improve

DO NOT
• Self-medicate
• Take a combination of different drugs unless under the advice of your doctor or pharmacist
• Give your medicine to anyone else, even if their symptoms are the same
• Increase your dose if you feel the medicine is not working
• Stop taking your medication unless you speak with your doctor first, even in the case of side effects
• Take medications that are out of date

All medications have both benefits and potential for harm. However, the risk of harm can be greatly minimized by ensuring that you understand how to take your medicine correctly and you follow the instructions carefully.

As with all medications, speak with your MedAux Pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.