Taking medication properly is vital if it's going to have the desired effect. You might think you just need to swallow the pill, but you need to be sure that you're taking it at the right time. For medication to do its job, you need to follow your doctor's instructions. Here are some further tips on taking medication properly …
1. Taking Other Medication?
To be sure of taking medication properly, you always need to inform your doctor if you're taking other medication. This is because medicines can interact with each other, and may cause side effects or reduce the potency of another drug. Also be careful if you're taking supplements, as these may also affect your medication.
Check whether your medication means that you should avoid alcohol. Some medications can reduce your tolerance for alcohol, so you may need to limit your intake even if you don't have to avoid it altogether. You should also check if the medication could affect your ability to drive - some warn you to avoid driving or operating machinery.
3. On the Pill?
If you're taking the contraceptive pill, make sure that your healthcare provider is aware of this. Some medications can interact with the pill and reduce its effectiveness, for example some antibiotics and the herbal remedy St John's Wort. These are just a couple of possible interactions, so always check whether you need to use another form of contraception temporarily.
4. Read the Leaflet Carefully
Always read the leaflet carefully before taking your medication. Some medicines are best taken either before or after a meal, so if your doctor hasn't already told you when to take them you'll find out here. Don't be too paranoid about the possible side effects listed in the leaflet; they are there simply to make you aware that a small number of patients have experienced them.
5. Don't Share
Never take a prescription medication belonging to someone else, or pass on your prescribed medication to another person. At best it could be ineffective; at worst, it could be dangerous. You should only take medication on the advice of a doctor. And if you're taking pills that you've had a while, check that they're still within date.
Can you never remember if you've taken your medication? If you're taking more than one type, or taking pills several times a day, it can be easy to forget. The answer can be to get a daily pill box. This labels each day, and divides them into morning, lunchtime and evening doses. You can see clearly if you've taken each dose on any given day.
7. Finish the Tablets
If you're feeling better, you might think there's no need to continue taking medication. But if you've been advised to take them for a certain length of time, you should finish the course of tablets. This is especially important when you're prescribed antibiotics, as they won't be effective if you don't complete the course.
If you can't remember what you're taking, it's a good idea to keep a record of names and strength of each tablet with your wallet. This can be helpful if you see a doctor that doesn't have your medical records. And if you have any out-of-date medicines, take them to a drugstore for disposal. Do you prefer conventional or alternative medicine?