Safe Use of Medication: Medication Safety Tips
Rational use of medication is an integral part of the healthcare system. Healthcare providers are trained to educate the general public about the safe use of medication. It is important to know for you that every medicine is a poison but every poison is not a medicine.
What Is Medicine?
Medicine is a product of a pharmaceutical industry that has a specific registered brand name. This brand name has reserved copyrights. Each medicine contains an active ingredient that has a major effect on the body. Such ingredient is known as generic of a medicine. A generic name is the same in any part of this world. Medicines must be handled with care because these agents can kill you in certain ways.
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Methods to Use Medicines Safely
The following ways must be kept in mind while using any medicine. Everyone must have knowledge about this.
- Know the names and purpose of your medicines: You need to know the names of your medicines prescribed to you and the purpose for which these medicines are prescribed to you. For example, Tylenol®️ is a name medicine that is prescribed for fever or mild to moderate pain.
- Maintain the list of your medicines: First of all, keep all your medicines in front of you and cross-check the medicines from the prescription if you can, otherwise, you can take help from your attendant. Write down all the medicines with the names and dosage regimens prescribed to you.
- Know when and how to take medication: Once you make a list of your medication, write down the time, frequency, and, duration of each medicine.
- Time can be written as before meal/after meal or early in the morning or at bedtime.
- The frequency of medicine is the number of doses that you need to take per day. Once a day will be written as OD, twice a day (BD), or thrice a day (TD).
- Duration of medicine is the time period for the medicine to be continued. It can be weeks or months.
- Medicine administration includes how to take the medicine i.e. with water or juice. Route of drug administration is also prescribed by the provider as for topical use, for oral use, or for IV/IM.
- In case of an injection, you must note down the time and date of your injection. Self-injection is not recommended, you can visit the nearest pharmacy or the health care setting to get your IV/IM bolus (shot).
- Don’t make changes in your dosage form: Dosage forms can be solids, liquids, or semi-solids.
- In the case of solid dosage forms i.e. tablets must not be crushed or broken. The same is the case with capsules that must not be opened.
- Don’t mix your liquid dosage forms with any other liquid like water or juice until prescribed. Liquid dosage forms include syrups, elixirs, suspensions, emulsions, etc.
- In the case of semi-solids like creams and ointments, don’t mix them with anything else.
- Follow the storage conditions of your medicines: Storage conditions are given on the labeling of each medicine. These conditions must be maintained to increase the shelf-life of a medicine.
- The temperature must be maintained, for example, 25 to 27 degrees Celcius is room temperature for most of the medications. 2 to 8 degrees Celcius is the cold temperature for refrigerator medicines.
- Keep the medication away from the heat and sunlight.
- Keep away from the moist condition.
- Expiration date: Check the expiration date of each of your medicine. Out of expiry medicines must not be used for any purpose. You can discard the expired medicines or return them to the pharmacy if unopened or in bulk.
- Don’t change the dose of your medication: You must take the prescribed dose of medication because if you will take the dose less than prescribed, you will not get the desired Therapeutic outcomes or if you will take more than the prescribed dosage, it will be toxic to your body.
- Don’t share your medication: Every person has his own medication and dosage regimen according to age and condition. You must not share your medication with anyone or even take medication from others.
- Precautions: Precautions must be noted for the safe use of medication.
- Keep your medicines away from the reach of children.
- Don’t smoke or consume alcohol if you are on medication.
- Strictly follow the precautions if you are a pregnant or lactating mother.
- In case of allergy or hypersensitivity reaction, call on emergency or visit to the nearest healthcare setting.
- Follow the instructions of a health care professional: In case of any ambiguity, you can talk to your physician at the time of your visit or during your follow-up. In case of any ambiguity regarding your medicine, you can visit your Pharmacist.
- ADRs must be reported to your healthcare provider.
- Past medication or any OTC medication you are taking, you must tell them.
- Keep a record of your medication: You must maintain your medication profile and keep it with you on each visit you will make to the doctor.
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