Out of 57.9% of adults who took prescription drugs in 2021, over 9 million (8.2%) didn’t take them as directed. Those who didn’t take their medication exactly as prescribed did it because it was too expensive. They might have skipped some doses, taken less than needed, or waited to get it filled.
Taking medicine can help you stay healthy and manage long-term conditions. As a result, you can live a more active and fulfilling life. But with all those bottles and pills, you may want to know how to take your medicine safely.
That’s where this guide comes in. It’ll help you learn how to get the most out of your medicine. Read on for more insights.
Table of Contents
Listen to Your Healthcare Provider
Your healthcare provider knows exactly how much medicine you need to feel your best. So, taking too much or too little is bad for your health. The doctor will tell you when to take the medicine, ensuring they work their magic at the best time.
Stick with your medicine plan like your doctor says, even when you feel better. Do this to keep your health in check in the long run. Think of it as a practice to stay healthy.
Store Medicines Correctly
Extreme heat, moisture, or sunlight can affect your medications’ potency, making them less effective. Improper storage can also make them create unexpected side effects. It invites mold and pathogens that can make you sick.
Each medicine has its own storage instructions on the label, so follow them. You should also keep your medications in their original containers. An ideal storage location is a cool, dry spot like a locked medicine cabinet in a room that doesn’t get too hot or humid.
Be Mindful of Interactions
Some medications don’t go well together. When taken together, they can cause unexpected and unpleasant reactions. That’s why it’s super important to be mindful of medication interactions.
Mixing the wrong medicine can cause nausea, headaches, or even more serious problems like trouble breathing. As such, discuss with your doctor everything you’re taking. That includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter stuff, and even vitamins and herbal supplements.
You should also pay attention to how your medications make you feel. Tell your doctor about any weird side effects, even if they seem small. And don’t just stop taking your medication because you don’t like how it makes you feel.
Never Use Leftover Medicines or Medicines Prescribed for Someone Else
Old medications lose their punch, meaning they won’t work well (or at all). They lack potency and become useless. You might also get unwanted side effects like dizziness, stomach upset, or even skin rashes if you take them.
Even more, what magically cures someone else’s condition might turn into a nightmare for you. Sharing medications is like playing a guessing game with potentially high stakes. You might experience unexpected reactions like hives, nausea, or even breathing difficulties.
Sharing could introduce medications that fight with each other in your body. As such, it reduces their effectiveness or even produces dangerous interactions. These interactions may lead to an allergic reaction like itchy eyes, runny nose, or anaphylaxis.
Dispose of Medications Properly
Like throwing out spoiled food, removing old medicine is super important. Expired meds can make you sick. Also, leaving them lying around might lead someone to accidentally take them, especially kids or pets.
So, how do you ditch those old drugs safely? If you have one of these awesome drop-off spots nearby, that’s the best way. They handle all sorts of medicines safely.
But if there’s no take-back program, grab some coffee grounds, kitty litter, or dirt and mix it with the old pills. Seal the mix in a plastic bag, like wrapping up unwanted leftovers. Remember to scribble out your personal information with a marker before tossing the bag and the empty bottle in the garbage.
But wait, some meds are different or so strong that accidentally taking them can be dangerous. For those, the FDA recommends you flush them down the toilet. You can check their website to see which ones should be disposed of this way.
Verify the Source and Ingredients of Your Medication
Taking your medicine is key to feeling your best, but guess what? Making sure it’s the real deal is just as important. Some pills might have the wrong ingredients, a bad recommended dose, or even be full of toxins.
Even good medicines can get messed up if stored incorrectly. Germs, bugs, and other destructive elements can sneak in, making you feel ill instead of better. As such, grab your pills from reputable pharmacies with a good reputation, look for any damage, and ensure the name and dose match your filled prescription.
Sometimes, your condition might need something different than pills from the store. It might increase the need for compounded medications. These custom medicines, also known as pharmacy compounding formulations, use special ingredients that aren’t common.
Before trying any custom medicine, ensure your doctor knows everything about it and thinks it’s safe for you. You should also ask your doctor where to get the best custom medicine made with great care and cleanliness. Don’t be afraid to ask the people making your medicine about the ingredients and how they make it.
Leverage FDA Pharmacists for Safe Medication Management
Have you ever grabbed a prescription and left the pharmacy full of doubts? Or got lost in confusing drug labels? That’s where FDA-regulated pharmacists come in – to ensure safe medication use.
You can ask your FDA pharmacist if you have a side effect or are unsure about mixing the medication. They’re experts at deciphering medical jargon and calming your worries. Pharmacists can remind you how often to take them, what to skip with food, and when to refill.
Ready to Take Your Medicine Safely?
We all want to feel our best, and sometimes that means taking medication as prescribed. It’s okay if it feels overwhelming; we’ve all been there. Explore the resources available on how to take your medicine.
Remember, even small changes can greatly impact your health and happiness. Whether it’s setting up a pillbox organizer or downloading a medication reminder app, take the first step today. Celebrate each milestone, no matter how small, and be kind to yourself.
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Last Updated on December 24, 2023