Who can best answer your medication-related questions?
What are the best times/conditions to take specific medications?
How are pills, capsules and tablets identified without the benefit of original packaging or bottles?
What information should be included in an accurate medication/supplement list in case of emergency or in preparation for a health appointment?
How can you check for drug interactions between prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, supplements, food, beverages, alcohol or pre-existing conditions?
Your doctor (nurse, healthcare provider)
Credible information can be received from all three places, but remember that everyone is unique and only healthcare specialists (pharmacists, doctors, nurses) are trained to apply information to specific people and their unique medical histories
Medication Errors: Cut Your Risk With These Tips (Mayo Clinic)
The above data is from the AHRQ Patient Safety Primer: Medication Errors
Remember, medication is all about chemistry! READ the directions before taking any medication.
Common directions include:
take on an empty stomach (2 hours before or after eating)
take with a meal (or "when stomach is full")
take with a full glass of water (8 oz)
avoid grapefruit juice or citrus when taking this product
take with milk (or take without milk or dairy)
avoid certain activities while taking medicine (don't operate heavy machinery)
take at a specific time (bedtime, morning or afternoon)
timing when you take medications is called chronotherapy
For more information:
Using Medications Safely (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists--ASHP)
Timing When to Take Your Daily Medications (AARP)
Medicines: Common Questions Answered (NIH)
How to Read an Over-the-Counter Medication Label (ASHP)
Over the Counter (OTC) Drug Labels: Tips for Preventing Unintentional Poisonings (NCPC)
Prescription Medicine Labels: a short video from Wisconsin Literacy, Inc
Drugs (pills, capsules and tablets) can be identified by imprint codes (the letters and numbers on a drug), shape, and color
Pill Identification Tool (RxList)
Pill Identifier (drugs.com)
When creating a medication/supplement list, it is important to:
Clear communication and sharing will help prevent drug interactions or overdoses.
Do I take this medication with food or without?
Can I drink (alcohol, citrus juice, milk) with these meds?
Does this medicine react with other supplements or medications that I’m already taking?
Learn to run drug interactions quickly and accurately.
Pharmacists and doctors are well-trained to review and identify possibly harmful drug interactions. You can also use online drug interactions tools to help gauge the risk prior to discussing with your doctor or pharmacist. When in doubt, contact your pharmacist or health care provider!
Drugs.com: Drug Interactions Checker
Check for multi-drug interactions including alcohol, food, supplements & diseases. Includes detailed reports for both patients and health professionals. this site also has an excellent article about drug interactions located right below the interactions search box.
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