|Manage your medications
All medicines (including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements and herbal preparations) have the power to help illness. But they also have the potential to cause harm, especially when they are not used appropriately. The more you know about your medications and take precautions to use them safely, the easier it is to avoid harmful side effects or drug interactions.
"You can take an active role in your health care," says Lonnye Finneman, PharmD, Assistant Director of Pharmacy at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. "The keys are to talk to your doctor, pharmacist, and other health care professionals, know all of your medications and use them as directed, and monitor the effects of your medications."
Information about your medications
One of the simplest and most important things you can do is to keep an up-to-date list of your medications with you at all times. Include all prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and herbal preparations.
Questions for your doctor
- Make two copies of your list. Keep one copy with you in your wallet or purse, and place the other copy on your refrigerator door.
- Be sure to keep your list up-to-date.
Whenever your doctor prescribes a new medication, ask questions such as:
- What is the name of the medication?
- Is there a less expensive alternative?
- What is the medication used for?
- When should I expect it to start working?
- How will I know it is working?
- How long will I be taking the medication?
- What are the possible side effects?
- Will it interact with anything else I am taking?
your personal medication reconciliation card
in PDF or JPEG (graphic) format.
- Keep the information on this card current.
- Take this card with you whenever you go to your doctor's office or the hospital.
|Questions for your pharmacist
By having all your medications filled at one pharmacy, you can establish a good relationship with an expert who will be familiar with your history. With any new prescription, be sure to ask:
- What are the brand and generic names?
- How and when do I take the medicine?
- Is it better to take in the morning or at night?
- How long will it take the medication to work?
- How far apart should I space the doses?
- Should I take it on an empty stomach or with food?
- Are there any activities I should avoid (such as driving or over-the counter products)?
- Are there any medications or foods that I should avoid (such as alcohol)?
- If I experience any side effects, when would I need to call my doctor?
- What if I forget to take a dose?
- How and where should I store this medication?
To request a free Personal Medication Form, click for PDF or JPEG (graphic) format., or call Marketing at (360) 514-3105.
Adapted from Medication Issues for Seniors by Lonnye Finneman, PharmD, Assistant Director of Pharmacy, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center