While the medicines we take are intended to manage our health proficiently, taking them correctly has a big part to play in their potency and/or impact on our health. Here’s how to check your medicines and use them safely.
Taking medicines may feel like rocket science sometimes. While regular people normally go by what has been prescribed for them, it is important to stay safe and do a set of checks at your end too, as incorrect medicines could lead to more problems. This guide provides some simple tips to help you determine if your medicines are safe.
You should always read drug labels to make sure you are taking the right medication. Understanding drug labels is even more important for people with chronic illnesses or severe conditions. Such people face the greatest risk of medication errors or interactions because they tend to take multiple medicines.
Important things to check:
- Product name
- Expiry date
- List of active ingredients and net contents in figures
- Instructions for usage & dosage
- Storage and precautionary/usage warning / side-effects message
- Name of the manufacturer or enterprise marketing the product and the address
Several studies have shown that seniors often have difficulty in reading and understanding medication labels. This may lead to medication errors such as taking the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. In many cases, a quick web search can help. But to be sure, one should always consult a trusted family doctor or any medical expert to avoid mishaps.
Observe the Physical Conditions of the Medicine
Once you buy the medicine, check the seal/ packaging. Look for cracks, leaks and signs of tampering. If you find any such discrepancy, return the medicine. The pharmacy has no choice but to take it back.
Purchase from Legal Online/Offline Pharmacies
Look for authorized online/offline medical stores. Legitimate drug stores and pharmacies recognize the importance of health and safety and indeed follow laws, regulations and ethical practices.
Check for reviews and consult other customers who visit the store regularly. By doing so, you are assured that you are not taking any chance with your health.
Look for Legitimacy If You Find Unreasonable Pricing
The same formulation from different brands may be priced differently. Compare the prices of medicines in other pharmacies and among alternate brands. If there is a huge price difference – don’t buy the product without checking the labels or consulting a medical professional first.
Never Follow Someone Else’s Prescription
Never share or follow someone else’s prescription advice, even if that person has the same ailment as you do. Medicines are very complex and may not provide the same kind of relief to everyone. Also, your body may react differently to the same medicine; for example, you may face an allergy to one of the ingredients in the medicine. Even the prescribed dosages can be ineffective/harmful to your body.
Follow Your Doctor's Instructions
Follow your doctor's / pharmacist's instructions to the T. For instance, they may tell you to take the medicine on an empty stomach or with food to hasten the medicine's absorption into your body or to help reduce chances of a stomach upset.
Monitor Your Health Condition, After Use
Always monitor your health condition when you start the use of a new drug. If your body starts experiencing adverse side-effects, inform your doctor immediately.
Medicines are chemicals or compounds used to cure, halt or prevent disease. Hence, you must act smartly when you use them. The right questions and a little research will not only go a long way to prevent complications but will also nurse you back to health in no time.