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When you need prescription drugs, you need to use them exactly as your doctor or the directions tell you to. If you don’t, you could become even more unwell than you were before. Drugs are powerful; they work to help your body protect and heal itself. Too much of them, or the wrong type, can have the opposite effect, breaking down your body’s defenses and causing you pain and misery. Not using prescription drugs safely can even be fatal in some cases. This is why it is imperative that you know how to use prescriptions drugs in the right way. Our guide will help you with this.
No matter whether you are obtaining specific drugs from your doctor’s surgery, or you are buying online medication, asking questions is vital. Before you make your purchase or visit your doctor, you would have a list of important questions that you want the answers to. If, when you ask them, you understand the answers and are completely happy with the responses, then you know you can use the drugs absolutely safely with no problems.
Questions should include asking why you need to take the drugs and why it specifically is being prescribed (this is especially useful if there are alternatives that could have been offered instead). It is also good to know how long it should take to start working because if nothing is happening, you may need to speak again to a professional for a different kind of drug.
Understand the side effects that may occur with any drug is also useful. If you know what they are, then you will know if you ever suffer from them, and you can stop taking the drugs rather than carrying on because you didn’t have the information and making yourself more unwell.
List Your Medications
It is a good idea to keep a list of any and all medications that you take with you at all times. You can keep it in your purse or wallet so that should anyone need to know what you are taking, you can quickly and easily show them. If the worst were to happen and you were in some kind of accident and unconscious, they would find this list, and it would help them to determine which drugs to give you – some drugs don’t work well with others, and without the full facts medical professionals might give you one drug that makes you more sick than another would, just because it is interacting badly with your other medication.
As well as including the drug’s brand name and generic name on your list, you should also include how often you take it during the day, the name of the doctor who prescribed it, and any other instructions you were given when you were prescribed the drug such as not driving, or stay out of the sun. The more information you can give, the better you can be treated if you need to be.
Read The Information
No matter what drugs you are taking or where they came from, there will be a leaflet inside the box. Most people just throw this in the trash, or keep it but ignore it, but actually, although it may not be that interesting, it is an important thing to read and take note of. It contains valuable information about what the side effects could be, and what other medication shouldn’t be taken at the same time.
In the past, these leaflets were difficult to read because they were full of technical jargon, but today they are written so that everyone can understand them. Take the time to read yours and you’ll be much better informed, and you’ll be able to take your drugs in a safe way.
Talk To Your Pharmacist
Of course, you will have asked your doctor about the drugs and why they prescribed them for you, but doctors are busy people and can often need to get to the next patient – although they will happily answer your questions, they may not do so in an in-depth way. This is why it is important to speak to your pharmacist, either in person or online, when you pick up your drugs, or buy them for yourself. Ask the same kinds of questions, just to be safe. It won’t hurt to get the same information twice, and remember, drugs are what pharmacists deal with all day, every day – they know everything there is to know about them, so this is definitely the place to go if you have any more questions further on in your treatment too.
Take As Directed
No matter what, you should take the medication you are given exactly as directed. Even if you feel as though you are better and over whatever it was that was causing you to be ill, don’t stop taking the drugs (unless the side effects are making you worse, that is). If you stop taking them too early, your body might regress back into a state of sickness, and you’ll have to start all over again. Just because you feel better that doesn’t mean you’re entirely over your illness, so keep taking the drugs until the course is complete to be totally safe and sure about it.
Look At The Expiry Date
All medication will have an expiry date on the label, and it is important that you check this when taking them. It is unlikely that new medication that you have just bought or been prescribed will be out of date, but it is worth checking the label anyway. Older medication that you might have had in your medicine cabinet for a number of months (or even longer) and that you think might be all right to take is a different matter; this is why your medication is more likely to be out of date.
You should not take medication that is past its expiry date. Firstly, it could harm you as it is not designed to be taken this way. Secondly, even if the medicine itself won’t harm you, it might not help you either. Drugs can lose their potency after the expiry date (which is why it is given in the first place). It is much better to seek medical advice rather than taking old medication that you find at home.