Medication can be an exceptional tool for healing and pain management. However, when not used properly, medicine can be harmful and even deadly. Proper medication management is essential to preventing misusage and harm.
To manage your medications or the medications of a loved-one, it’s important to understand the following:
Communicate with your Healthcare Provider
It’s vital to provide your doctor with all the details of your healthcare history including medical events, surgeries, allergies, dietary habits, and all current medication (including over-the-counter (OTC) medications and vitamins). Armed with this information, your healthcare provider can create a personalized medical plan, which accounts for drug usage, interactions, and efficacy. For example, if you have one kidney due to kidney cancer or donation, “renal dosing” or dosing certain medications that are filtered by the kidney is essential to maintaining the health of the kidney.
Understand Your Medication
It’s beneficial to purchase all prescribed and OTC medications from the same pharmacy. Often, the pharmacist keeps a record of your medications in a computer database and can help you to be sure your medications (including vitamins and OTC medicines) don’t interact harmfully with one another.
- What is the name of the medication and what is its purpose?
- Are there any food, drinks, medications, and activities that I should avoid while taking this medication?
- What are the potential side-effects and what should I do if they occur?
- How many times per day should I take the medicine? How long should I wait between each dose?
- What food or drink if any should I take with the medication?
- How should I store this medicine?
Know your medication schedule
Older adults tend to take multiple medications. It’s important to post a list of these medicines including their relevant information like dosage and schedule. A copy should also be kept in your wallet or purse so it’s readily available in case of emergency or if you’re visiting a new doctor or pharmacist.
You can also set an alarm on your phone or tablet to remind you to take your medication.
Organize your Medication
Keep your medications well-organized in a safe place away from children. You should go through your medicine cabinet periodically to discard any expired medications. A pillbox is an effective way to store multiple pills daily and to remember to take those pills.
Medication Management: An Essential Skill
Without a doubt, caregivers and patients should be proactive in their medication management to prevent dangerous interactions and bodily harm.