Medication can be an important component of your health and wellness journey. Prescriptions are nothing to be nervous about when you’re working actively with your doctor to make sure your regimen is right for you. But there are a few safety precautions to factor in when it comes to your prescriptions. Here are six safety considerations to bear in mind regarding your medication.
Drug companies typically guarantee that their medication will be effective when stored between 68 and 77 degrees. This is because outside of that range, they might change physically (think of a gel tablet freezing or a salve melting), lose strength, or even potentially cause harm, according to Skye McKennon, clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, in an interview with the New York Times. Keep bottles out of the light and away from heat sources to be on the safe side.
You want your medications to be distinct from other family members’ so you’re not accidentally mixing up your ibuprofen with Grandma’s cholesterol drugs. You should also separate medications from household chemicals like cleaners and detergents, so you don’t have to worry about dangerous cross-contamination.
Be sure that you’ve read the labels and accompanying information pamphlets that go along with anything you’re taking so you can be informed with best practices for each medication. Know the possible side effects, doses, and usage instructions. Then track and communicate any unusual side effects with your doctor to make sure you’re both on the same page with your prescriptions.
Once you’ve educated yourself by reading the labels and information provided by your doctor and the pharmacy, put that to good use and follow all instructions. If you need to take a medicine with a meal or right before bed, make sure you do so. This diligence is important for “controlling chronic conditions, treating temporary conditions, and overall long-term health and well-being,” according to the FDA.
Some medications don’t react well when they’re exposed to oxygen. Even if you have a more stable prescription, it’s easy to lose track of expiration dates, dose information, or even the medication when it’s separated from its original container. Always store medications in a safe place out of the reach of children. Please do not rely on childproof caps to keep them out of your medications. While child-resistant packaging can help, it isn’t totally foolproof.
Even if you only take one or two pharmaceuticals, it’s a good idea to have a list handy that lays out everything you’re taking at the time. This becomes more important when you take more medications since some drugs don’t react well with others. With a list at hand, you’ll be prepared for your next appointment with a new doctor, or when filling out intake forms at urgent care, so you and your healthcare provider can ensure you get the best care possible.
If you have questions about safe practices for your medications, the doctors and pharmacists at Community Health Partners can help. Contact your nearest CHP clinic today to get connected with one of our health care providers.