Health and Fitness

Top 6 Medication Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

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Medicines are made to cure diseases or at least manage their symptoms. However, when used incorrectly, even general medicines with the fewest restrictions can cause immeasurable harm. That’s why when you’re taking medications, you have to keep in mind safety tips  just like the following:

Buy Only from Trusted Sources

Let’s face it: a lot of medicines are expensive. Nevertheless, this is no reason for you to just go for the cheapest ones available without considering factors like the manufacturer’s reputation. For your health and safety, it’s still best to buy your medications only from a pharmacy or drugstore Philippines’s consumers and experts trust. This way, you can be sure of the product’s quality and effectiveness.

You should also consider buying generics whenever possible. They’re as good as branded medications, with the bonus of being more affordable. If you’ve been prescribed a branded medicine, ask your doctor first before buying a generic version (your doctor may have good reasons for prescribing the branded one).

Store and Dispose of Medicines Properly

Proper storage is important when it comes to medicines, simply because even the slightest change in their composition can affect their stability and effectiveness. Fortunately, most types of medicines can be stored the usual way, which is in a “cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.” Note that some medicines require refrigeration, so check the label to be sure. If so, the best place to put them is towards the back so there isn’t a lot of temperature fluctuation.

One of the biggest no-no’s in storing medications is keeping them in the bathroom. This is due to the high humidity, which will absolutely ruin a medicine’s composition and stability.

Apart from proper storage, proper disposal is also crucial for medications. This is particularly important for expired medicines, but also so those that you no longer need even if they’re not yet expired. For example, if your doctor has advised you to stop taking a certain prescription medication, throw the rest away. This will prevent confusion and accidental ingestion.

Of course, be sure to follow proper medicine disposal. Never flush old medicines in the toilet as this can contaminate the water supply. The best way is to simply throw them in the trash in a sealed container.

Keep a List of Medications

If you’re taking multiple medications, the best way to remember every detail is to make a list that includes the following:

  • The name of the medicine
  • When to take the medicine
  • How to take the medicine
  • Dosage

You can also set alarms using your smartphone if the medicine has to be taken at exact intervals. If there’s a change in your treatment regimen, update your list ASAP.

Take Medicines as Prescribed

When your doctor gives you particular instructions for taking your medicines, follow them to the letter. If the prescription says every 4 hours, then take it every 4 hours (the above-mentioned tip about setting alarms will be helpful here). 

In case you experience unpleasant side-effects or if you feel like the treatment isn’t working, don’t just stop taking the medicine abruptly. Talk to your doctor so they can advise you about what to do or give you another brand or type of medicine. Additionally, make sure to finish the full course of treatment. If the prescription says 14 days, then take the medicine for 14 days even if you’re already feeling well by the 10th day.

It’s also not a good idea to self-medicate. Even if you experience a repeat of the same condition, the situation may not be exactly the same so the treatment will also differ.

The bottomline here is that by taking your medicines as prescribed, you have a lower risk of experiencing unintended results.

Follow Usage Instructions

For oral medications, make sure to follow usage instructions. For example, if a tablet is too large for you to swallow, don’t just break it in half or crush it. Check the label first if it’s safe to do so. This is because some medicines can become unsafe if their structures are manipulated. They may be absorbed by your body faster than normal, for example, which may result in toxicity.

For liquid medicines, use the provided measuring device to ensure you’re getting the correct dose. Verify with your doctor or check the label, too, if the medication should be administered sublingually (under the tongue) or buccally (between the gum and cheek). These methods of administration have different results than the traditional way of “drinking” medicines, so make sure to follow the correct one.

Know Your Medicines

Finally, knowing all about the medicines you’re taking will go a long way when it comes to safety. Some of the things you should endeavor to know include the name and generic name of your medicines, and what each one treats. You should also know if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients, as well as the possible side effects of your medications. This will minimize or prevent unpleasant surprises.

Lastly, make sure to be aware of any interactions that one drug has with another. This is especially true if you’re taking prescription medication and then need to take over-the-counter drugs.

By keeping in mind these safety tips, you can get the best results from your medications in the safest way.

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