Posts Tagged ‘medication effectiveness’

Get the Most from Medications

May 1st, 2017

When picking up a prescription at a drug store, customers typically are asked, Do you have any questions for the pharmacist? For most people in a hurry, the routine answer is no. But investing a few moments in understanding the medication you’ve just been handed isn’t a bad idea.get-most-from-medication_istock-509483224

For instance, should you take the medicine with food or water? If you’re taking another drug – or even something over-the-counter – will there be an interaction? Does it matter what time of day you take the medicine? How will you know it’s working? What are potential side effects and when should you be concerned?

Information about how to take a specific medicine can be found by reading drug insert labels or visiting a reputable online source such as MedlinePlus at the National Institutes of Health. However, your doctor or pharmacist may have more specific advice about what is right for you, so be sure to ask them for their recommendations.

Being an informed patient will help you get the most out of your medications and take them safely.

The following are just three examples of medications that are easy to take incorrectly:

Prilosec: A proton-pump inhibitor for treating acid reflux, this popular drug’s generic name is omeprazole. Typically, it supposed to taken in the morning an hour before eating. Taking it to alleviate symptoms – when your heartburn is flaring – won’t have the same effect.

Thyroid medicine: Drugs like Levoxyl are tablets that dissolve quickly in the throat. It’s recommended to take them with a full glass of water so they don’t get stuck or cause choking, gagging or difficulty swallowing.

Blood pressure medicine: Millions of older adults skip doses, stop taking the medicine altogether or fail to fill prescriptions, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure is often silent until it causes cardiovascular damage or other harm, so maybe it’s easy to forget you have it. Don’t! If you need blood pressure medicine, you need to take it as prescribed every day to avoid a heart attack or stroke.

Meanwhile, there’s a rule of thumb we should all know: If you’re taking antibiotics, please do the rest of the world a favor and finish the whole bottle. Even if you’re feeling better before all the pills are gone. This helps prevent the development of “super bugs,” the germs that are resistant to today’s antibiotics.

For learning more about medication and being a smart consumer, the Food and Drug Administration offers plenty of information online. Visit its consumer information center for free drug-related publications to read about prescription and over-the-counter medications and how to take them safely.

By Susan Hemmingway

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