Prescription medication is so ubiquitous that some of us consistently botch dosage and usage. We take it so often we barely check the label, and our lives are so hectic we often don’t stop to ask about the medications we’re taking. It’s easy to think a doctor’s visit is all one needs to figure out medication and the expected outcome.
Except when side effects occur or recovery doesn’t go as planned.
Sometimes, we handle prescription medicine incorrectly. Other times, we fail to communicate what’s going on with our bodies. Make sure you don’t fall victim to these common mistakes we all can make while handling our prescription medicine.
We Don’t Create A Medications List
Creating a list is important to start with because it provides a reference of what you’re taking. Doctors can use this list to verify what you’re taking in that moment and check it against their existing records.
In addition, it also gives you an opportunity to check on pills in your cabinet that might not have a label. Using a pill identifier, you can figure out what these pills are and important information about usage and side effects.
If you have kids in the house, pills can become dangerous because they don’t really understand (or sometimes outright ignore) advice on dosage. Therefore, keeping a list also gives you some idea of what potentially dangerous pills might be misused.
We Never Talk To The Pharmacist
Don’t just leave the counter after paying, ask about side effects and dosages and find out how to properly use or inject the drug you’re required to take. Typically, doctors want patients to finish an entire prescription and are very specific about how much they want to distribute.
Your pharmacist can also talk about what potential conflicts exist with your medication list.
Finally, the most basic reason of all to take a moment and speak with your pharmacist is identity. One of the biggest problems in prescription misuse is the wrong customer getting the wrong pills. Taking a few minutes to talk with your pharmacist is like a check for both of you: you get valuable information and the pharmacist gets some quality control to make sure the information is accurate.
We Don’t Care Enough About Labeling
The FDA has gone to great lengths to make prescription labeling easier for consumers to understand. They have sought name changes for similar sounding drugs, and require companies to put so-called “Drug Facts” on bottles. Similar to “Nutrition Facts”, the label contains important information presented in consumer-friendly fashion.
Soon, there may be a database of drug facts doctors and pharmacists can pull from in real time. This database will have more detailed information to explore, with publicly available data to review on your own time.
This is still proposed, and nowhere near completion, but it’s a glimpse into what is possible. In fact, there is already a database of drug facts on medical websites around the Internet, but an authoritative database would ensure some standards in information distribution.
We Don’t Read About Side Effects
Another important mistake we tend to make handling prescription medicine is failing to understand side effects. The difference between a potentially serious reaction and response to a side effect comes down to knowledge.
Asking a lot of questions is the only way to get a good grasp of knowledge.
That said, you also need to communicate with your medical team. Inform doctors and pharmacists what side effects you’re experiencing so they can be sure everything is normal.
** THIS ARTICLE WAS UPDATED ON 2-14-2018