Are you using your Prescription Medications Safely?

Doctors prescribe medications for hundreds of conditions; if you have a serious illness, you may be on several medications at once. Whether you are on only one prescription medication or several, it’s important for you to know how to use prescription medications safely. People who don’t take these precautions may end up getting sicker or even dying as a result of prescription medication errors.

Make Sure You Understand Directions

It’s important to take prescription medications only as directed. Taking too much or too little or taking the medication in a different way than prescribed can lead to complications. Follow your doctor’s instructions completely. If he or she says to wait two hours after eating before taking a new medicine, for example, make sure that you do this.

These kinds of instructions can help you avoid serious complications that could land you in the hospital.When your doctor prescribes the medication, he or she will explain how to take it properly. Ask questions if you don’t understand something or have any concerns. Make sure you know things like:

  • Whether you are supposed to take the medication with food.
  • Are there are any foods you should avoid?
  • How often to take the medication?
  • What to do if you forget to take the medication at the right time?
  • Whether you can drive safely while on the medication?
  • What potential side effects you might experience?

Drug Interactions

If you’re on any other medications, it’s vital that you find out how the new medication might interact with them. For this reason, it’s important that you always tell your doctor what medications you are currently taking. That way, he or she doesn’t accidentally prescribe something that will interact badly with your current medications.

In addition to drug interactions with other prescription medications, you need to know how your medication interacts with other common drugs:

Alcohol

Many medications can affect you adversely if taken with alcohol.  The alcohol may negate the medication’s effects or cause serious complications. If you take certain medications with alcohol, you might stop breathing or your heart may even stop beating.

Over-the-counter remedies

One of the reasons for many drug-related visits to the hospital is that people are not aware that taking common over-the-counter medications can cause serious problems. Aspirin, cold/cough medicines and ibuprofen may all interact with your prescription medication.

Herbal remedies

Some herbal supplements interact badly with pharmaceutical drugs. For example, if you take St. John’s Wort while on prescription medication for depression or anxiety, it can be quite dangerous.

Side Effects

It’s important to find out about your medication’s side effects. Many medications cause some discomfort, such as nausea or stomach aches; in addition, some medications have very serious side effects that require a doctor’s intervention if they occur. It is also wise to follow the news and perform your own research to learn of any new side effects that have been reported on your medications.

For example, our Pradaxa attorney wants you to know that it was recently discovered that the risks from this anticoagulant drug were under-reported by the makers of the drug, and that many patients are now suffering from major bleeding. If people taking this medication have been following the Pradaxa lawsuit news, they know that they should contact their doctor immediately to discuss their risks.

Many people rely on their doctors’ expertise to keep them safe when they are on prescribed medication. However, doctors aren’t always aware of every issue surrounding medications, so it’s important to do your own research and learn how to use your prescription medications safely.