With a new year upon us, many people are resolving to make changes. Consider making a change of your own and becoming more proactive and organized in your approach to your healthcare, in particular, your medication management. As we age, the number of prescribed medications may continue to grow, making medication management even more important. According to the American Geriatrics Society, more than a third of those over the age of 65 have at least one adverse reaction resulting from a prescribed medication. The problems are most often a result of missed doses, doubled doses or a combination of prescribed medication from a provider unfamiliar with the patient's medical history. However, these problems can be avoided by taking control of your medication management.
To prevent a negative reaction from medical prescriptions, please take into consideration the following tips:
1. Educate yourself on your prescriptions. Get to know all of your prescribed medication and make sure you understand the dosage and how often you should take it. Learn your prescriptions by brand and generic name. Make sure you understand why the medication was prescribed to you. Read all of your prescription labels and do not leave the pharmacy or doctor’s office until you understand how to take the medication. Don’t always assume that your providers automatically know what medication you have taken or are currently taking. Keep a list of your prescriptions and update it regularly. This includes non-prescription drugs, vitamins and dietary supplements. Also keep note of the times you take the medication and the dosage. Bring the list with you at doctor’s appointments.
2. Follow directions. Take your medication as directed by following your medication’s dosage and times closely. There are often important reasons why medication must be taken in specific amounts and at specific times.
3. Keep your medication organized. Use a pill box to organize your medications by day and week. If necessary, use separate boxes for morning and evening medications. Label the boxes clearly with the date and times. Refer to your list of medications to make sure you are accurately refilling each box. This will assist you in making sure you have taken you dosages for the day.
4. Set an alarm. If you need extra assistance remembering when to take your medication, set an alarm, your watch or your telephone alarm to sound when it’s time to take your medication.
5. Do not take other people’s medication. Taking another person’s prescribed medication can result in adverse reactions. Do not take medication that your doctor has not prescribed to you.
6. Store your medication properly. Most medication should be stored at room temperature in a dry place, away from direct sunlight and out of children’s reach. Keep note of medication that may need to be refrigerated. Throw away any expired medication.