Medicines often referred to as drugs, help us live longer and healthier. But taking them the wrong way or mixing certain drugs can be dangerous. You need to keep track of your medicines and use them safely to achieve better health outcomes. Information contained in this article can help you get maximum benefit from your drugs by using them safely and more effectively.
Three important steps can guide the safe and effective use of medicines. They are knowing your medicines, keeping track of them, and using them effectively. The first part of this article will focus on knowing your medicines.
Knowing your medicines
Knowing your medicines is an important part of maintaining optimum health. Taking the wrong drug or the wrong dose can be very harmful to your health. Thus, it is equally important to know your medicines as with your vital numbers such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
You may be wondering, why should I know my medicines? doesn’t my doctor know what I am taking? He probably does, but most times we see more than one doctor. We may even have multiple locations where we fill our prescriptions. Other times, the doctor may not know that you have not been taking your medicines as prescribed. Again, your health provider could miss something, like medicines that may not work well together.
This is not to say your healthcare team is not keeping track of your medicines. You are an important partner in your health journey. Being curious about your medicine allows you to take ownership of your health and become a better-informed patient.
Does my healthcare team only need to know about the prescriptions I take?
Medicines are more than just those that a doctor prescribes. It includes a wide variety of supplements and complementary items which we may not consider important. Some of them are listed below
- over-the-counter pain killers, cold medicines, and laxatives
- vitamins and minerals
- homeopathic, natural, and herbal remedies such as agbo, bitter leaf, etc
- recreational drugs (such as cannabis)
- patches and inhalers
- eye, ear, and nose drops
- creams, lotions, ointments
- anything you may be taking as part of a research study
Here are some practical tips to guide you
- What is the name of this medicine?
- Why am I taking this medicine?
- What are its benefits?
- Are there any side effects?
- How much should I take and when?
- Can I take my other drugs or supplements while I am taking this?
2. LISTEN CAREFULLY
It is important to listen and note what your healthcare provider tells you.
Discuss any concerns you may have with your Doctor or Pharmacist.
Following these steps as enumerated above would guide you in the safe and effective use of medicines. I hope that you find this guide useful. Taking charge of your health starts with you. Make a conscious effort today to become a trusted partner on your health journey. In subsequent articles, I will write on the next two steps which are keeping track and using medicines appropriately.