5 medication rules that a pharmacist always recommends
Jphrases such as “drug safety” and “toxic substance precautions” likely bring to mind scientists in lab coats and goggles, assiduously peering through microscopes in a sterile clinical environment. And while you’re not mistaken, if you take medication in your daily life, there’s another more familiar place you’ll want to keep these types of medication rules in mind: your own home.
Medication safety matters to everyone, not just pharmacists, says Robert Alesiani, PharmD, BCGP, Head of Pharmacotherapy at Tabula Rasa HealthCare, who has worked in community and institutional pharmacies during his 35-year career. If in doubt, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for the best way to store or take your medications to avoid any potential problems. Even better? Anyone can walk into their local pharmacy to speak with a pharmacist about their medications – no panicked phone calls to the doctor necessary. That said, Dr. Alesiani has a few medication rules to consider.
1. Just because something is over the counter doesn’t automatically mean it’s safe for you
Although all over-the-counter medications, also known as over-the-counter medications, are deemed safe and effective by the US Food and Drug Administration, their protocols – which ensure that drugs are made with certain ingredients and do what they say they do – do not take into account your personal health status. For example, some people may have allergies to ingredients in over-the-counter medications or take prescribed medications that could interact with an over-the-counter medication. Case in point: certain over-the-counter cough medicines can interact with certain antidepressants.
For these reasons, Dr. Alesiani says it’s always best to be cautious when taking new over-the-counter medications. “Never assume that a drug available without a prescription is necessarily always safe,” he says. Instead, consult your doctor, trusted supplier, or pharmacist to see if there are any potential problems with taking a certain over-the-counter medication and if there are better alternatives for you.
“Ironically, the bathroom medicine cabinet and the refrigerator are two of the worst places to store medicine.”—Robert Alesiani, PharmD, BCGP, Head of Pharmacotherapy at Tabula Rasa HealthCare.
2. Make sure you store your medications in the right place
“Unless otherwise specified, medications should be stored at room temperature, low humidity, in a place where they will be out of the reach of children and pets,” says Dr. Alesiani. “A shelf in a closed kitchen cabinet, away from the stove (heat) and sink (humidity), is best,” he says.
Sometimes it can be easier to put medication in a pill organizer, but it’s always important to keep all the prescription information handy. For example, if you like to dispense all of your medication in a weekly pill box, take a picture of the pill bottle before you dispose of it so you have the date it was filled, the expiration date, the dose, and the quantity. , as well as any other relevant information, if you need it.
Where you think you should store your medications and where you should actually store them can also be a bit surprising. “Ironically, the bathroom medicine cabinet and the refrigerator are two of the worst places to store medicine because both places expose bottles to extreme temperatures and humidity, which can cause premature failure and a reduction in the potency of many drugs,” says Dr. Alesiani. .
3. Be wary of friendly advice from loved ones
No one likes to talk about their personal health experiences more than someone who finds out you’re on the same medication. And while it’s okay to hear other people’s personal stories of how a drug has worked for them, take the information with a grain of salt.
“Everyone is different. People should not anticipate the success or failure of therapy based on what may have happened after a neighbour’s, cousin’s or friend’s experience. with the same medication,” says Dr. Alesiani. There are many nuances regarding medications, including side effects, interactions with other medications you may be taking, and your individual makeup and health that will not translate not by someone else’s experience. So if your neighbor tells you that you shouldn’t bother taking a certain medicine because it made him very sick or bloated, politely nod and carry on with your daytime.
If you are unsure why you were not prescribed a medication, it is best to talk to a trusted provider. Dr. Alesiani sees this frequently when it comes to antibiotics. Here’s the scenario: A well-meaning loved one suggests you take an antibiotic for a head cold, but your doctor refuses to prescribe it. “It can be frustrating to disagree with your doctors, but the prescriber might have concluded that the common cold is viral and that an antibiotic would not be helpful, and in fact, could be harmful,” says Dr. Alesiani .
4. Don’t overemphasize marketing terms like “natural”, “plant-based” and “clean”
“Natural” and “clean” are adjectives mostly used in marketing, with little or no evidence in medicine. “‘Natural’ products are not necessarily healthier, safer or more effective than the same drug, vitamin or other supplement produced in a laboratory. For example, several studies on the herb, echinacea, have provided no evidence of benefit against the common cold, but many advocate and take it for this indication,” says Dr. Alesiani. On the other hand, natural, herbal and herbal supplements have medicinal properties that should be treated with caution and care. There’s such a thing as having too much of one extra charge even though it says it’s “natural” on the box.
These types of “natural” medications can also interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications, so it’s always best to speak to your pharmacist or healthcare provider for help with these products before taking them.
5. Pay close attention to instructions on how to take your medication
Things can get a little tricky when you have to take multiple medications every day. “Suppose you take five pills a day and all have the same instructions, ‘take 1 pill a day’, what does that mean? Should you take all five at once, first thing in the morning? Maybe. Should you take each at a different time throughout the day? Probably not,” says Dr. Alesiani.
That’s because some drugs have specific nuances, he explains. Some may be better absorbed with food, while others may cause drowsiness or extra stimulation, or may even be metabolized by the same enzyme. If so, you may want to space out your dose to make sure your medications are working properly.
Pharmacists are specially equipped to handle these types of medication questions. So you can consider your local pharmacist a free resource for all of your day-to-day medication planning needs – and who knows, they might even have a few medication rules to share with you.