Do you or your loved ones carry a current list of medications in case of an emergency when you are unable to speak for yourself? Do you bring an updated medication list with you when you go to a doctor’s visit? Are you aware that one out of every ten elderly persons is admitted in to a hospital because of an adverse drug event? And it is becoming a serious public health problem.
According to the CDC, 29 percent of American adults take five or more medications. Many people are under the care of multiple physicians’ or health care providers, so being proactive in your plan of care and providing accurate and up to date information can be imperative to ensure you receive the best possible care. This is not only limited to prescription medications, however, but to all the over the counter (OTC) medications and/or supplements you may be taking.
Self- medicating with some over the counter medications may also pose a risk. These can include, but are not limited to: cold remedies, antacids or sleep aids. You should review your list of medications with your pharmacist to ensure that the OTC mediation can be safely taken with your prescription medications. This can help to avoid any adverse or negative reactions.
It may not always be convenient to use the same pharmacy due to some circumstance. However, using one pharmacy for you medication needs can ensure a better quality of monitoring for any potential interactions or contraindications.
The National Institute on Aging offers the following helpful hints to ask your doctor about a new medication:
- What is the name of the medicine, and why am I taking it?
- How many times a day should I take it? At what times? If the bottle says take ‘4 times a day,” does that mean 4 times in 24 hours or 4 times during the daytime?
- Should I take the medicine with food or without? Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medicine?
- What does ‘as needed’ mean?
- When should I stop taking the medicine?
- If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
- What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem
A wallet medication card is an easy way to keep an accurate record of your medications. You healthcare provider or insurance carrier may aid in providing a template to keep track. The Connecticut Department of Health offers a free version online that you can print and complete or complete on line and print out. This tool may be found at www.ct.gov/dph and searching Wallet Medication card.
Take charge of your health and be a smart consumer of medicine.