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Do’s and don’ts of taking medication

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Staff writer

Drug related deaths of world famous celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Lee, and Heath Ledger captured the world’s attention when they happened. But prescription and over the counter drugs also pose a danger to everyday people. If you or anyone you care for is taking medication, here are some things you need to do to be safe.

  • Don’t mix medication

Certain medications have a similar function and can increase each other’s effects, risking severe side effects or overdose. Others behave in the exact opposite way and decrease or block another drug’s efficacy, causing one or both drugs not to work as intended. If you mix drugs and don’t know how they interact, you could be creating a dangerous cocktail.

  • Know your drugs

Take time out to know more about drugs you are taking. Note the names of all the medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter products and supplements. Also be clear about why you are taking them. Are they for pain, inflammation or blood thinners? Ask your doctor or pharmacist what their side effects include and if any special precautions are needed so that you can monitor your own body.

  • Be honest

Your doctor and pharmacist can give you the best advice when you give full disclosure. Tell them about any herbal or illegal substances you are taking and ask about possible interactions. Even if you have been taking certain medication for a long time without any reactions, check because they can cause complications. For instance, taking vitamin E with blood-thinning medication can increase anti-clotting activity and may cause an increased risk of bleeding

  • Don’t share

You and partner go on holiday and you both come back with the same symptoms. She goes to the doctor and is prescribed some medication. As tempting as it may be, don’t even think about asking her to share because what’s safe for one person isn’t necessarily safe for you. Using another patient’s medication could lead to under – or – over-dosing, toxic drug interactions, horrible side effects, and treatment with the wrong medication.

Play it safe with these medication tips:

  • Keep an up-to-date list of all your medications in your CenHealth account
  • Save the information sheets that come with your medications. You can enter them or upload scans into your account
  • Store medications in their original labelled containers.
  • If possible use the same pharmacy or retail chain for all of your prescriptions.
  • When you pick up a prescription, check that it’s the one your doctor ordered.

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