Thought we'd make a little list of the do's and don'ts of meds, maybe it will help someone. Some of them are no brainers and others are things you may never have thought of. Please feel free to add more! DO
* If this is the first time you've tried a medication talk to the doctor and the pharmacist about potential side effects and drug interactions
* Before leaving the pharmacy discreetly check your medications to be sure all pills are there and that they do not look any different than the last time you got them before leaving the pharmacy
(do this in your car not in the pharmacy). Mix ups do happen and you can be shorted meds or given the wrong meds. Immediately go back to the pharmacy if you notice a difference.
* Store your medications in a cool dry place, preferably a dark one, sun or bright light can affect medications over time.
* Lock your medicines up
if you have a lot of traffic in your house or if you think there's potential someone may take them. Doctors will not replace stolen medications! Take out only a day or a fews day worth of medications and put them in a small medicine holder. Purchasing a small fireproof safe is a good option, if you can not afford one then purchase a small fireproof document box and hide the keys.
* Do report any unusual side effects of your medication
* Do take your pain medication before it is needed. If you are prescribed to take medications every 4 hours then take it every 4 hours. If you wait until the pain is severe the medication will not be as effective.
* Leave your medications in their original bottle. Never switch them around or use a monthly pill organizer for many medications at once. You may soon forget which pill is which, especially if they look similiar. Only "set out" one weeks worth of medication if you use a daily pilly organizer.
* If your going away on vacation etc. and you need an early refill avoid all the problems with early refills by calling a pharmacy in the area your going [especially if its in the same state, it shouldn't be a problem at all] and find out if they take your insurance, and have the medications available. You need, this way,instead of an early refill, your doctor can postdate a perscription and you can get it filled on your normal date. Most doctors like this idea instead of writing special orders on a script. and put in your chart. etc.
* Do have someone with you when you take medications for the first time
so that they may monitor any allergies or reactions and can get you attention if needed.
* If you are travelling, going to an even that checks your bags or if you take medications to work you can ask your Pharmacist to provide you with 2 bottles
, one with medication and one that is empty with the same label. You simply put the needed amount in the empty bottle and of course store the primary bottle in a safe place with the remainder of the medication. That way if you are ever questioned for any reason you have a valid pill bottle with the prescription information on it as opposed to a baggie full of unknown substances that will most likely be taken away from you.
* Check your prescriptions thoroughly prior to leaving your doctors office.
Be sure that the date, medication, dosage and amount of pills are correct. Make sure that the doctor has signed the prescription.
* Keep a pain diary when taking medication. Write down when you took your medication and how your pain levels were at the time, jot in notes a few hours after you took the medication on how you are feeling and any side effects you might be having.
* Keep track of bathroom habits! Some medications do cause undue or severe constipation that you may want to advise your doctor of. DO drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet with loads of natural fiber.
* Do advise your doctor and your pharmacist if you take MAOI Inhibitors. These types of medications do not mix well with other medications and could result in a problem.
* If for some reasons your medications are stolen, do advice the police department. DO NOT
* Do not go to the pharmacy alone
or when it's dark. If you have problems getting around, or even if you don't. People have been known to take medication bags from others while exiting the pharmacy. Keep your bag close to you at all times or put in a pocket or purse that might be a little more difficult to get to.
* Do not ever give your medications to anyone for any reason
* Do not store your medicines in the bathroom
. Bathrooms are damp and humid this can break down the medication.
* Never tell someone you don't know or don't trust the type of pain medications you take.
* Never take all your medications with you when going on a trip!
Medications can get lost or sometimes stolen, they will not be replaced by a doctor, it is your responsibility to keep track of them. Take only the amount of medication(s) you will need while going away and one day extra just in case. Store the rest securly or hide at home.
* Do not drive until you know the side effects of new medications.
* Do not drink alcohol with pain medications.
* Do not break, chew or crush your medications unless you are advised to by your doctor, especially long acting (LA) medications.
* Do not increase your medication on your own.
* Do not take pain medication at the same time as medication for GERD or heartburn. Certain heartburn/GERD medications coat the stomache and by doing so the medications may not be absorbed properly if at all.
* Never tell anyone that you do not know that you are on pain medications or take them in public.
* When going to the ER do not take your entire bottle of medication. If there's a question in regards to medications the ER staff can contact your prescribing doctor for current prescription information.
* Do Not take vitamins and beta blockers at the same time as you take any narcotic medication.