Part of my role in performing Home Medicines Reviews is finding out what medicines people are taking and how they take them. This is often in stark contrast to what and how their Doctor and Pharmacist think they are doing!
Do you read the label?
How many of you read the label on a medication that you have dispensed? Do you just rely on what you think the Doctor told you to do or what you think you should do? Even if you remember how many times a day you are supposed to take it it is unlikely that the Doctor explained to you how to take it in relation to food and other medicines. It’s important to get this right as some medicines should be taken with food and some without. Some medicines also need to be taken away from other medicines. This information will be on the main label or extra stick on labels on your medicine.
The main reason medicines should be taken with/without food and away from other medicines is to ensure the medicine works fully. We want to get maximum benefit from medicines so ensure that you take them as directed.
Sometimes a medicine can cause upset stomach and this can be reduced or eliminated if it is taken with food.
To fridge or not to fridge
I am often amazed to discover that people keep their medicines in the fridge. Sure there are some medicines that should be kept in the fridge and these will be labelled as such. If it doesn’t say to keep it in the fridge then don’t! Moisture is not something that is wanted around most medicines. The best place to keep your medicines is in the pantry away from heat and moisture (also keep them up high away from children and pets).
Other interesting uses of medicines
I have come across many interesting ways to take medicines including;
- A woman who sometimes took her morning medicines late at night before bed in case she slept in in the morning! This was quite dangerous as she took some medicines twice daily and thus had night and “morning” doses very close together.
- A gentleman who found it inconvenient to take a medicine as two tablets three times daily so took three tablets two times daily. He thus exceeded the safe amount for the medicine at each dose and ran the risk of liver damage and also did not receive sufficient pain relief as he had times during the day where there was no medicine in his body (except his liver!).
When a Pharmacist chats with you about your medicine and gives advice it is because they want you to get the best use of your medicine.
As I like to say “it is for the good of your health not mine that I’m giving you this advice!”