Prescription Medicine (cont.)
Keeping Medications Safe at Home
At home, make sure the medication is stored away appropriately. The best
place is dry, dark, and not too hot. If there are children in the house, or if
children come over to visit from time to time, make sure that all
bottles are locked up, usually in a high secure location where children cannot
Some people who take many medications find it convenient to put all their
pills for the week into little 7-day boxes made just for this convenience
purpose (these are readily available at any pharmacy). Once this pill
distribution is done, there are a few rules regarding prescription drugs that
still need to be followed:
- For many medications, especially antibiotics, patients need to finish
the whole bottle, even if they feel better. Take all your medications as the
health care practitioner has prescribed, or the patient may end up back at the
pracitioner's for a
second round of medication.
- Some drugs are prescribed to treat ongoing conditions and will need to be
continued beyond the month's supply generally given to you by the pharmacy.
Be proactive and call your pharmacy a few days in advance so that your
prescriptions can be filled and waiting for you when you need them. An easy
general rule to follow is that when about 2/3 of the medicine is used, it is
time to refill. Pharmacies can also tell when refills will run out so that
you can make arrangements with the health care practitioner for either more refills or a
reevaluation; some pharmacies have the ability to send refill notices to
patients via email, phone, fax, and other methods. People are urged to simply ask
what services are available to help them with their prescription
- If a person experiences a side effect of their medication, they should
call their health care practitioner promptly.
- Don't stop taking medications unless the patient's health care
practitioner is first consulted
to determine that stopping the medication is safe for the patient to do.
- Don't take other people's medications, and don't let others take any
of your medication.
- Don't resume taking an old medication, even for the same symptoms,
unless you have discussed it with your doctor first.
- Periodically clean out the medicine cabinet. Check expiration dates.
If there is no expiration date on a bottle, call the pharmacy to find out
what to do. If medicine in a bottle or elsewhere cannot be identified,
dispose of it. The best way to dispose of unused medications is to return
them to a pharmacist.