Medicines and You

As you grow older, medicine-taking may eventually become a way of life, especially for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart problems and others. Whether or not you like it, these medicines keep you healthy for a longer time and allow you to enjoy a better quality of life in your golden years.

Since they are such an integral part of your life, it helps to make medicines your friends!

Here are some simple yet important tips:

1)      Know your medicines and what they are for. Some medicines have different names; for eg, Lipitor (a drug for heart problems) is also known as atorvastatin, which is its generic name or name of its active ingredient.

2)      Ask if you are unsure. Always make sure you understand correctly the right dosage and length of consumption.

3)      If the writing on your prescription is not clear, request for it to be written clearly, for the sake of the person reading it, including yourself.

4)      Bring your medicines to the doctor or have a ready list of your medicine list and dosages every time you see a doctor. This will prevent over-medicating when you see different doctors for different reasons.

5)      Also include a list of your current condition, list of allergies to medications (if any) or any allergies.

6)      Always tell your healthcare providers about anything else you are taking, including alternative or herbal medicine, health supplements or vitamins, even seemingly harmless medications such as over-the-counter painkillers, cough mixtures or antibiotics that you purchased from the pharmacy.

7)      Let your doctor know immediately every time you experience side effects from a medication you are taking. These may include dizziness, nausea, rashes, drowsiness or breathlessness.

8)      Never stop your medications without consulting your doctor, even when you feel better. You may need to complete a full course of a particular medication in order to gain its full benefit.

9)      Tend to forget your medications? Use a pill box, calendar or diary to record your intake and track your progress.

10)   Keep your medicines in a cool and dark place (but not in the freezer or fridge), away from children.

11)   Have a stock-check every year to throw our old medicines or supplements.

12)   Never share your medicines with others even though they may have the same condition or symptoms. Self-medicating is dangerous.

13)   Make sure you go for all doctor appointments to monitor your progress and whether you need to change your medication or the dosage.

14)   Do not reach for your medications in the dark as you may take the wrong medicine accidentally.

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