Today it is the turn of the medicine cabinet, or the box under the sink, the drawer by your bed, depends where you keep you stash. Yes i mean stash! If you have a chronic medical condition you always have a stash, especially when you depend on those pills and fear being without them when you may desperately need them – so yes you have a stash! I know because i have a stash too!
Here are a few DO’s and Don’t of medication –
- use medication that is out of date
- use anyone else’s medication, even if you are prescribed the same thing
- buy medication over the internet – i am not talking about herbal remedies or supplements; vitamins and minerals, etc
- take supplements unless your Doctor knows, some can interact with other medications
- stop medication without discussion with a doctor
- over dose yourself – paracetamol is lethal drug, no more than 8x500mg tablets a day, taking one extra dose in 24 hours over a few days, will build up in your system and could eventually kill you; be aware that over the counter cough and cold medication often contain paracetamol, if the pharmacist doesn’t ask you then please tell them, take the repeat list with you to show them.
- leave them where a child can get them, pretty colours mean they often look like sweets
- throw unused medication in the bin
- or down the toilet
- or down the sink
- take all unused and out of date medication back to the chemist – even if it’s half a strip
- if you are on repeat medications and you just pick up at the chemist once a month then (i do or i phone and they deliver it)-
- check what medications you need before you go to collect
- check the medication in the bag before you leave the chemist and in front of the pharmacist
- check that it has your information on it
- check the doses
- and the expiry dates too – normally stamped at the end of the box
- if they have collected an old prescription from your doctor’s and have issued medication that you are no longer taking then hand it back to them straight away
- if you take the medication out of the chemist and then take it back, even if the seal as not been tampered with then the medication will need to be destroyed
- if you hand it back before you leave they are allowed to removed your name and information and reissue it to someone else
- if (like me) you receive free prescription medication then be aware that for every item issued to you and you accept then the chemist charges the government – so if you don’t need them don’t take them.
- take medication as prescribed
- be aware if you are starting a new medication, read the information that comes with it, especially the side effects
- mild side effects are often caused by the body getting use to the medication and should disappear within about 2-3 weeks
- if you have or think you are having a serve negative reaction to a medication, stop it immediately and phone the surgery and speak to a doctor (not just the receptionist), if it is life threatening call an ambulance
- If you are going into hospital take your medication with you, not just a list, the staff will appreciate it. However if they stop a medication they should ask you for the remaining tablets, if there is any and if any new tablets are prescribed they should issue you with at least 2 weeks supply, giving you time to get to your own doctors for more.
- be sensible and be safe!
Note: I tried to figured out who exactly was charged for free prescriptions but wasn’t able to do so. Also in case you are wondering i have been a Registered Nurse since 1984 although i now no longer practice, but i was practising up to four years ago.