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Medication Management: Taking Drugs the Right Way

Pills, medicines, and capsules will bring you more benefits and will not cause trouble if taken correctly. It would seem that it’s easy: you take a pill, wash it down with tea or coffee, and you’re done! In fact, medication management should be streamlined and strictly controlled.

Good rules to follow to take your medications safely

Good rules to follow to take your medications SAFELY

Discuss the upcoming drug treatment in detail with your doctor

Tell your doctor about the medications that you are already taking. Medicines can interact with each other, which sometimes leads to dangerous consequences.

Carefully read the packaging and instructions for the drug

  • Check the name of the drug after purchase. Be sure to use the right drug. The names of the drugs may be consonant, and the active substances will vary. Do not focus on packaging design;
  • Pay attention to the section “Dosage” in the instructions. Some drugs should be taken in the afternoon, others in the evening, some tablets should be swallowed whole, others should be chewed – the success of your treatment depends on following these instructions and the doctor’s recommendations. Most capsules and tablets should be washed down with water unless otherwise specified in the instructions for use. Contrary to popular belief, it will be easier to swallow a large capsule if you tilt your head forward;
  • Check the expiration date, observe storage conditions. Do not use medicines if the expiration date or storage has been violated, such drugs pose a significant threat to health.

Do not take several drugs at once

Remember that medications may not be compatible with each other.

  • Antibiotics should not be independently combined with antipyretic, hypnotics, antihistamines;
  • Iron preparations are incompatible with antacids. Oral contraceptives can not be combined with analgin, antibiotics, and sulfonamides;
  • At least two hours should elapse between taking enterosorbents and any other drugs. If the doctor prescribes you several drugs at the same time, then you need to take them with an interval of 30 minutes.
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Consider age and position

The same medicines have different effects on children, the elderly, and pregnant women. Moreover, the therapeutic effect of drugs such as erythromycin, verapamil, diazepam is lower in women than in men, and propranolol and oxazepam are vice versa. Pregnant women (especially during the first three months) can take any drugs only as prescribed by a doctor. Older people due to the poor blood supply and weakened kidney and liver function need to take medicinal doses 30-50% less than young people. It is better to use tablets since drops are more difficult to dose.

There are special drugs for men, especially those who are driving. Drivers should not take anti-allergic drugs, which have a tranquilizing effect: chloropyramine, clemastine, diphenhydramine. Instead, they should use loratadine, desloratadine, etc.

Do not chew tablets in a shell

Many people think that before swallowing a pill, it is necessary to chew it. But you should not chew tablets coated with special shells. This is due to the fact that the substances contained in them should begin to act only in the intestine. If you chew them, there will be no therapeutic effect, but there is the likelihood of undesirable side reactions.

Wash pills down with water

It is not always true that it is better to wash pills down with plain water. All medicines really need to be washed down. But sulfanilamide preparations (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) should be washed down with alkaline mineral water; indomethacin — with milk; caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline — with acid juices. Calcium preparations should not be washed down with milk, as it complicates their absorption into the blood. The same applies to tetracycline. If you have been prescribed antipyretics, you’d better avoid taking dairy and plant foods and prefer meat products.

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Do not drink alcohol

You should NEVER combine drugs and alcohol, especially aspirin and paracetamol. Combining nitroglycerin with a drink, you risk causing collapse – a sharp weakening of blood circulation. And of course, you should not combine alcohol with drugs that affect the nervous system.

Do not forget to take medicine

You can keep a diary and mark each drug intake, use the reminder function on electronic devices, or install a special drug reminder application on your phone. Get used to taking medicine at the same time, for example, after brushing your teeth or having breakfast, before watching your favorite TV show. In addition, it is useful to sort the preparations into pillboxes – containers showing the days of the week. This way you will quickly notice that you missed a dose. You can keep a self-monitoring diary – a table in which you indicate the frequency of administration, the name of the drug and the dose, time of day.
Observe the duration of treatment

Follow the doctor’s recommendations, do not stop taking the drug ahead of schedule. If you have doubts, discuss them with your doctor. Remember that a person with chronic diseases should take a number of drugs all his/her life to prevent complications and to minimize health risks.

Store the medications correctly

  • All dosage forms (tablets, capsules, dry medicines, bandages, and plasters) absorb moisture, which makes their quality worse. Therefore, a cabinet in a wet bathroom or a “hot” electric stove is not the best place to store them. The bedroom and living room are more favorable in this sense;
  • Medicines must be stored in a dark place because ultraviolet rays of sunlight may cause many chemical reactions, leading to the fact that the products not only lose their effectiveness but can also cause poisoning. This is why the best storage place is a room with opaque doors. A dark container is also a great option for storing medicines;
  • Many people prefer to keep medicines in the refrigerator, but is there any need for this? Most drugs are stored at room temperature and only some require “special conditions”. As a rule, the annotation to such drugs says “store in a cool, dry place.” Almost all eye drops, ear preparations, suppositories, ointments, vaccines, probiotics, prebiotics, and insulin belong to such remedies. Remember that even when stored in the refrigerator, it is necessary to protect the medicine from moisture, namely condensation, so put the medicine in a bag or container that will protect it against liquid;
  • Wherever you store medicine, keep order. Divide the drugs into external products and preparations for internal use, place them on different shelves and containers, stick stickers, create your own system so that you can easily find the product you need;
  • Do not put the tablets into other packages, do not cut off parts from blisters and do not throw away instructions for use, otherwise, you may lose information about the name of the drug, its use, and expiration date. Keep the medicine in its original packaging and do not expose yourself or your loved ones to taking expired or inappropriate drugs.
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