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No one likes to be sick, but once in a while, it is ok to be under the weather. When this happens, drugs are prescribed. Now, it falls on you to use these drugs consistently and correctly to get the maximum effect of the drugs.

To help to take prescription drugs correctly, here are tips to put in mind:

1. Ask several Questions
Ignorance is what kills! Before leaving the doctor’s office with a new prescription, make sure you understand why the medicine is being prescribed, how long it will take before it starts working, how you should take it, what side effects you should expect, and whether you should change any of your normal activities (such as driving or spending time in the sun) while taking it (It’s your life we are talking about afterall).

2. Keep a List of the Medications You Take
For each medication, include the drug’s generic and brand name, the dosage, the name of the doctor who prescribed it, when to take it, and any special instructions such as taking it with food or first thing in the morning (You might forget sometimes).

3. Always read the Leaflet Provided by the Pharmacist
Most of us just throw this piece of paper away, but it contains valuable information about side effects and drug interactions. These days, they’re even written in plain English!

4. Stick With One Pharmacy if Possible
Most pharmacies today have electronic databases that can instantly tell if a newly prescribed medication will interact with one you’re already taking. They can also track any drug-related allergies. If you fill your medications at different drugstores, there’s no way to track this information.

5. Talk to the Pharmacist
Pharmacists are founts of information when it comes to medications (It’s what they do, you know). When you are prescribed a new medicine, ask the pharmacist about any dangerous side effects or warning signs, and let him know about any other medical problems you have. Some medications can make certain conditions worse, something your doctor may miss.

6. Request a medication review
When visiting a new doctor, and at least once a year with your regular doctor, schedule an appointment for a review of your medications. Put everything you take (including vitamins, supplements, herbs, and over-the-counter medications) into a bag and bring them with you to the appointment. The doctor can make sure that you still need all the drugs and also identify any interactions or overlaps — different drugs that perform the same function. (Dad does this and it helps greatly).

7. Take Drugs as Directed
Tempted to ditch the drugs because you’re feeling fine, DON’T. Take the medicine as your doctor prescribed. Always take drugs, prescription and OTC, as directed–at the right time of day and in the right amounts and do not stop without consulting your doctor. Some long-acting medicines are absorbed too quickly when broken up, so don’t chew, crush, or open capsules or split tablets unless instructed. If your medication is in liquid form, use only the included measuring device to determine the correct amount. A household spoon is not an accurate measure.

8. Stay In Touch
Call your doctor if you experience bothersome side effects, don’t feel better after the medication is supposed to have started working, or have trouble taking the medicine. Don’t wait for your next visit.

9. Check the Expiration Date
If your doctor prescribed a sleeping pill 4 years ago and you’re now experiencing another bout of insomnia, check the expiration date. Some medications may lose some of their potency starting a few months after the expiration date has passed. If the drug is expired, it’s probably time for a visit to your doctor anyway to make sure the medication is still appropriate for you.

10. Store It Right
Some medicines should be stored in the refrigerator, others on a cool shelf. The worst place to keep your meds is in a humid, steamy bathroom. Know that bathrooms are bad. Humidity, heat, and light can affect the drug’s potency and safety so bathrooms and kitchens are the worst places to keep them. Instead, keep them cool and dry in a high dresser drawer.

11. Do right by antibiotics
A prescription antibiotic may not be the right course of treatment for what ails you. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria (strep throat is a bacterial infection, for example), but not against the viruses that cause colds, flu, or coughs. When you do take an antibiotic, always finish it as prescribed. Taking drugs incorrectly or not finishing a prescribed dose helps create antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

12. Dispose of all unused and outdated drugs.

Ask your pharmacist or local health department for disposal options. If you must throw away unused and outdated drugs (you can seperate them first in case you will be having a medication review), remove them from their packaging and spread them throughout your trash so they are less appealing to retrieve. And never flush unused drugs down the toilet because they work their way into the water supply.

You don’t like the taste, smell, look of drugs pr you just don’t like drugs for any reason, put aside sentiments and take those drugs. You can start not liking them when you are better (Lol). Keep drugs away from where children can reach them, we don’t want them having any problems.

Later…

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