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The Importance of Medication Management

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Posted By Wendy Boulayat April 17, 2014

Very often, many older adults require medication to cure, alleviate, or control certain conditions or ailments. Sometimes, however, this means that many people are taking a wide variety of prescriptions/OTC (over the counter) drugs and this can lead to disorganization, forgetting to take certain pills, and side effects. Below are some tips to help you manage your medications effectively.

 Keep a Checklist

Keeping a checklist of all of your medications can help you stay organized, while providing quick access to everything you are taking in case of an emergency. Keep the checklist in your purse or wallet as this can be beneficial to emergency care workers if you cannot speak for yourself in an accidental event.

Use One Pharmacy Only

One of the best tools you can implement for yourself is to always use the same pharmacy for all of your medications. Your pharmacist has a record of everything you are taking and can offer personal advice and inform you of any interactions when dealing with prescriptions as well as OTC medicines.

Storage

It is extremely important to follow any storing guidelines to preserve the effectiveness and shelf life of your medication. Some medicines might require that you store it in the refrigerator, while some may need to be stored in a cool, dark area out of direct sunlight. Check with your pharmacist if you are unsure.

Know the Side Effects

One of the most important things you can do in your personal medication management is speaking with your doctor and/or pharmacist about possible side effects.  Some medications can interact with others and often times un-informed people become frightened or confused about how they are suddenly feeling. Knowing the side effects can put your mind at ease and also indicate whether or not you need your medication adjusted.

Never Stop “Cold-Turkey”

Always speak to your doctor or pharmacist before stopping any medication. Some drugs must be weaned off while others are okay to stop suddenly. Stopping a medication suddenly that needs to be slowly weaned off can result in physical and/or emotional trauma. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

 Take As Prescribed

Never alter the method in which you take your medication without advice from your doctor. Always take the prescription or OTC as it is prescribed to you personally. For OTC medications speak with your doctor or pharmacist to determine the best dosage for you and the medications you already take.

Remember to always speak to your doctor when you are unsure of a medication and/or the dosage.

Resources:

http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/community-education/why-managing-your-medicine.html

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/takingmedicines/managingyourmedicines/01.html

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