1. Be actively involved in understanding health conditions and prescribed medications:

  • Talk with the healthcare providers
  • Ask questions
  • Read trustworthy, reputable online sites
  • Join health support groups

It is important that everyone involved in the care of an individual is active in understanding their condition, their medication and all the options available to treat them.

2. Have medication and/or a list of medications available at all times to show health professionals in case an accident occurs.

3. Write a medication list that includes:

  • Names of all medications (including any over the counter medications, dietary supplements and herbal remedies)
  • The doctor who prescribed each prescription medication
  • The purpose of each medication or the symptoms the medication is supposed to treat
  • Size and frequency of dosage
  • Should they be taken on a full or empty stomach?
  • When repeat prescriptions are required

Be sure to update the list if taking something new, a medicine is stopped, or the dose is changed. GPs and pharmacists should review all medications regularly. Remind them of any allergies or problems encountered with certain medicines. Don’t stop taking prescribed medicine without checking with them first.

  

Know the following about each drug taken:

  • Medication name, exact spelling, purpose and whether it is the brand name or a generic substitution
  • The medication’s side effects and interactions and what to do if they occur
  • How and when to take the medication (i.e. on an empty stomach, after meals or at bed time etc.)
  • How long the medication is to be continued and if any blood tests are required for periodic monitoring
  • What to do if you miss or forget a dosage
  • How to store your medications (in a refrigerator or at room temperature etc.)

Read the information leaflets provided in the packaging of the medicine. These provide important information to help understand the medication and avoid problems.

For example:

  • What the medicine has been prescribed for
  • How to take the medicine correctly
  • Possible side effects and any interaction with other medications or food substances
  • Interaction with alcohol
  • Information on who shouldn’t take the medicine
  • Serious side effects that mean medication should be stopped
  • Information as to who is at an increased risk of suffering side effects
  • Storage instructions

 

Avoiding Medication Problems

 

First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a first aid course or do one online to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

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