Do you take medications on a regular basis? Chances are you do. More than 80 percent of American adults rely on one or more medications to stay well, but if these medications aren’t taken properly, serious problems can occur. In fact, each year adverse drug reactions account for 120,000 hospitalizations and 70,000 emergency department visits. But there are ways to ensure safe medication use.
Watch this video to learn four simple tips to help you keep your meds in check.
1. Stay organized. If you take multiple medications, keep a running list of all of them—along with any supplements you take—and confirm with your health care provider that they are safe to be taken in conjunction with one another. Since pills may resemble one another, store them in the containers they came in so that they don’t get mixed up. Always keep them out of reach of children.
2. Follow directions. Confirm exactly how much of your medication you should be taking and how often, whether it should be taken with meals or on an empty stomach, or whether it might react with certain foods or alcoholic beverages.
3. Be consistent. If you need help remembering your medication schedule, set calendar reminders or an alarm on your mobile phone to help you keep track. Even if you’re feeling better, take all medication as prescribed (especially antibiotics). Resist the temptation to save pills in case you need them later.
4. Stick to the testing schedule. Finally, some prescription drugs like blood thinners, or diabetes and heart medications require ongoing blood work. If your doctor prescribes blood testing in conjunction with your medications, don’t skip this important step. Following the recommended testing schedule will not only insure you’re getting the proper dosage, it’s also one more way of reducing your risk of an adverse reaction so that your medication can do its job of helping to keep you well.
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