Prescription medications are available for many things: blood pressure, infections, pain management, mental health, and more. Whatever the reason you’re taking a prescription medication, it’s important to remember a few things.
Here are three important things you need to remember when taking a prescription.
1- Don’t Store it in the Bathroom
We all have one: a medicine cabinet. But just because there’s a cabinet named for it doesn’t mean you should store your medicine in the bathroom. The temperature changes, heat, steam, and other moisture that regularly forms in the bathroom from showers and baths can weaken your medication, making it less effective. It can also cause the medication to expire before the expiration date, which means you’re taking ineffective medication – and potentially getting sick as a result. Even if expired medicine doesn’t make you sick, it certainly isn’t doing your health condition any good.
Instead of storing medication in the bathroom, store it in your bedroom, on top of a nightstand or dresser. You can also store it in your kitchen, as long as it’s in a cabinet away from the stove and direct sunlight.
Wherever you choose to store it, make sure that it’s out of reach of small children.
2- Mixing Meds can be Dangerous
Prescription and over-the-counter medications, nutritional and herbal supplements all have their places. But it’s important to remember that not everything can mix in your body.
Antibiotics, for example, can cause birth control to be ineffective. Warfarin, a common blood thinner, taken in conjunction with omega-3 fish oils, a popular supplement, can increase the risk of bleeding in some people.
Whatever medications and supplements you take, it’s important to make sure your doctor is aware of all of them. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your pharmacist is aware as well, as a backup to your doctor. Make a note of everything you take: prescription medication, over-the-counter medication (including aspirin, allergy meds, and cold medication), multivitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal supplements. Provide this list to your doctor and pharmacist and keep it updated. This helps to ensure that you don’t mix anything that might do more harm to your health than good.
3- Take Medication Exactly as Prescribed
Most of us know that we need to take the prescribed amount of medication. We also usually know that we should take it as directed in terms of the time of day, or the number of times per day. But there are often other instructions that we deem not as important. For example, the medication may say to take with food, or to drink a full glass of water with the medication. We tsk at this and take the medication before breakfast, or we scoop just enough water from the faucet into our hand to swallow the pill.
These instructions aren’t there to make your life more complicated. These instructions are developed after careful testing and evaluations that have determined that these steps will ensure that you experience the least amount of side effects, that your body most effectively breaks down and uses the medication, and that you get the most benefit from the medication. Failure to follow these instructions could lead to feeling side effects, a less effective medication, or having to take a stronger dose or another medication because your body doesn’t benefit from it the way it should have.
Carefully and thoroughly read all instructions that come with your prescription medications, and follow those instructions to the letter. If, for some reason, you’re unable to follow those instructions, you should discuss with your doctor or pharmacist what you should do.
Prescription medications have many benefits, but these benefits can only be felt if you properly store, handle, and take your medications. Any time you’re uncertain of the proper way to do that, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice. With the right care, and taken on time and properly, your prescription can help you feel healthier, happier, and better in general.