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Kissa 08-17-2004 06:48 AM

Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
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!


* 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 [b]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[/b](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.

* [b]Lock your medicines up [/b] 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.

* [b]Do have someone with you when you take medications for the first time[/b] 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 [b]ask your Pharmacist to provide you with 2 bottles[/b], 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.

* [b]Check your prescriptions thoroughly prior to leaving your doctors office.[/b] 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.

[b]DO NOT[/b] :nono:

* [b] Do not go to the pharmacy alone[/b] 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

* [b]Do not store your medicines in the bathroom[/b]. 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.

* [b]Never take all your medications with you when going on a trip![/b] 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.

madhatter 08-17-2004 08:31 AM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
Kissa,good post! and just to add- If your going away on vacation etc. and you need an early refill,to avoid all the bull with early refills,you might want to try and call 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 med. you need,this way,instead of an early refill,your doc. can postdate a perscription,and you can get it filled on your normal date,and it seems doc. like this idea,instead of writing special orders on a script. and put in your chart. etc.

carol632 08-17-2004 06:02 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
If you are given a new medication, be sure to take it when someone is there with you in case of severe allergic reaction. I've seen reactions so bad that the pt. would have died without immediate emergency care.


madhatter 08-18-2004 05:43 AM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
Never go to the pharmacy alone! I've heard stories of peaple getting robbed of there med. as soon as they walk out of the pharmacy.You'd be serprised who knows what your taking! There was one story in my area,these guys would lurk around the e.r and when they seen someone come out with crutches,or a sling,or they would be in the waiting room and here why peaple are there,then they would follow them to the pharm. and when they came out,they would just run up and take there bag out of there hand.

wastefulltick 09-09-2004 12:47 AM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
never tell anyone that u dont know that u are on pain medications or take them in public u would be surprised who is watching and how well they can spot and id pain meds it happened to me on the train ride to fl last week this guy saw me take my meds and he bugged me the whole trip down to give him a couple of percocets which i refused to do he keep telling me how much pain he was in i wouldnt go to sleep the whole trip down 16 hrs and took my carry on with me to the bath room and took out my meds bottle and put it in my front pocket
bob :eek:

Tyneyboy 12-24-2004 06:57 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
I would disagree with only taking 1 extra day of medicines while travelling. Things can go wrong, cars break down, weather & homeland security can stop flights, and if you ever do get caught out for a few days without your medicines you will find it very difficult to get a doctor or an ER while out of town to replace them even though the situation is beyond your immediate control. I reccommend taking 7 days extra medicines with you, depending on your mode of travel.

To illustrate my point... I was driving back from PA to MO, and this is a trip I expected to take me 2 days to complete. I left on a Thursday, and expected to be home late Friday. Thursday went fine, but got a bit of a late start leaving Friday as I wasn't feeling very well. My truck died in the middle of nowhere in Indianna. I walked the several miles to the hotel, the only hotel in the middle of nowhere I could find, called a cab to go get the rest of my luggage, and found out there was nothing open to fix my car with on the weekend. After arranging to tow my car to the only shop in town, I was told no one could get to it on Monday. So it was Tuesday before they could touch it, and they didn't have the part on hand. It was Thursday before the parts arrived & I finally was able to leave and got home late Thursday night. I was lucky in that I had someone at home and they were able to send me my medicines via Fed-Ex, but had I not had someone at home I would have had the choice of visiting either one of the 2 doctors in the area, or taking a cab more than 50 miles each way to an ER in the nearest real city. Being on the medicines I'm on, neither of these would likely have helped me. Put yourself in a doctors shoes, XX from out of town comes in on a high dose of morphine sulfate and has run out and you don't know him from Adam. While the telephone exist, and some doctors are better than others about returning pages - what do you really think the liklihood of my prescription being filled would be? 1 in 3? 1 in 5? 1 in 10? I was delayed for 6 days, I had brought with me a reserve of 3 days medicines.

One other thing, I highly reccommend having a locking box to put your medicines in while travelling, and if you do have to use an airplane, or anything with checked baggage, make sure your pain medicines are in your carry on in the locked box. Baggage screeners have been known to nick medicines if anything interesting comes through. The locked box is also useful if travelling by car in that it adds an extra legal protection to you while driving from search & seizure. Even though I'm not impaired while driving, many police officers are simply clueless that people who use these medicines on a chronic basis can function just like everyone else while on them. Defending yourself against DUI is expensive as well.
The locked box prevents any "plain view" type arguements if this were ever to be an issue.

dennycrane 01-26-2005 03:41 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
Hi Kissa,

That is an excellent post. The only thing I would add is that if the pharmacy has a private area that you can go to, it is a good idea to count your medication while you are still at the pharmacy. I know of some people who only left the pharmacy for 15 mins. and came back as soon as they knew they were shorted but were out of luck. They were asked 'who's to say that you didn't take some out and stash them somewhere in your car?'

The problems that some people create for legit. chronic pain patients is infuriating!!


chm060878020880 09-23-2005 05:10 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
* Never tell someone you don't know or don't trust the type of pain medications you take.

why is that?

ladyalaska 11-05-2005 04:09 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
even though some of the things on your list seem likeno brainers, i found a couple that i hadn't thought of or had no idea of. i take medication for acid reflux and didn't even think of taking it at a different time. but now that i think about it i do feel a little silly that i didn't think of it before!

hoyt 11-27-2005 05:56 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
be careful if you're on any MAOI's or if you've been on one within the last 14 days, most medicines cannot be mixed with MAOI's

rodekill4404 01-03-2006 07:35 AM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
don't carry you'r days supply of meds in a zip lock baggie to the NASCAR races.
Security took mine away from me at the front gate.

RestlessInFL 05-18-2006 12:05 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
This is a very good post, however I must disagree with discretely counting your pills in the parking lot! Nope, stand there with a pharmacist present and count them right there at the window! If you are short, and you have left the pharmacy, they WILL NOT MAKE GOOD ON IT!

Last night, Walmart shorted me 26 pills out of a prescription of #140. Per the pharmacist, they pulled a full, sealed bottle of 100 off the shelf, then pulled a second bottle and counted out 40, then logged the 60 remaining in their books. HOWEVER, they DID NOT COUNT the bottle of 100! The pharmacist ADMITS this. BUT WILL NOT MAKE GOOD ON IT, BECAUSE IN HER OPINION, THE MANUFACTURER DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES!!!!!!!!!!!! Because the prescription is for Percocet, now I look like a liar!

The pharmacist said I should have looked at the bottle and counted out the pills before I left that window. That's the ONLY way they will belive me, even with the admission that the bottle of 100 was NOT counted and checked for accuracy! I am filing a complaint with the Florida State Board of Pharmacy.

Other than that, all I can say is I've been with the same doctor for 21 years, and thank GOD he believes ME, as I've had a clean record with him. I've never lost meds, had them stolen, left them on vacation, or asked for a script early. (And, I've been with this same Walmart for 4 years, and spend $400.00 a month on medications, so they know I've never been a problem either, yet they treated me like a criminal!)


hj09 09-12-2006 03:53 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
Nice post
Take All your medications to EVERY doctors appointment.

dragonthoughts 09-29-2006 07:46 AM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
Something worth noting, when travelling to different countries is to take copies of any prescriptions with you, so the authourties and customs have some chance of understanding your pill bottles.

Check foreign regulations and be aware that your medicines may not be obtainable, even if you have documentation if the pharmacy authoraties have not approved them.

I went to Japan a year ago. Before I went, I found,that some of the drugs I am on are classed as a controlled substances, and so had to get appropriate paperwork to take in with me.

I never wear my TENS machine through customs... The possibility of being accidentally shot for having a strange device with wires attached to me does not appeal. :)

xinerevelle 10-14-2006 12:45 PM

re: Do's and don'ts of meds & the Fentanyl patch
On the subject of traveling internationally... make sure you have the generic name of the drugs you are taking, not just the brand name. Drugs are called different brand names in different countries, but most have the same generic name.

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