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Creating a Prescription Schedule That Fits the Pill

August 16, 1999|BARBARA J. CHUCK

Many of us take one or more prescription medications on a regular basis, but we don't always take them as directed by our doctor or pharmacist. Not following directions can be harmful to our health. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your medications.

Talk to Your Doctor or Pharmacist

* Should the drug be taken with water, with food or on an empty stomach?

* How much of the drug should you take each time and how frequently?

* What should you do if you miss a dose?

* Are there side effects, and which of those should prompt a call to your doctor?

* Which foods or medicine should you avoid while taking this drug?

Take an Active Role

* Fill all your prescriptions at the same pharmacy so that your medicine history is in one place.

* Tell your doctor and pharmacist what drugs you're taking. This means prescription, over-the-counter and herbal remedies, as well as vitamins.

* If you take multiple medications, carry a list of them.

* Alert your doctor and pharmacist about any medical conditions you have, as well as any allergies to food or medicine. If you're pregnant or breast-feeding, mention that too.

And Some Precautions

* If you have trouble remembering to take your medication, try making it part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.

* If you are going to the hospital or visiting the doctor, take your prescriptions along in their original containers or bring a current list of what you're taking.

* Don't take expired medications.

* Don't stop taking a prescription drug unless your doctor instructs you to.

* Keep medicines out of the reach of children and pets.

* Store drugs in a cool, dry and dark place, not in the bathroom or kitchen near moisture or heat.

Source: StayWell Co.

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