Managing meds 101:
1. Maintain a schedule
Take your medications at the same time each day. If starting a new one, talk with your doctor and pharmacist in order to understand the best time to take the medication and where it best fits into your daily routine. This will help mitigate potential adverse drug events from happening if you are taking certain over-the-counter products or other drugs that should be taken separately from your new one.
2. Use one pharmacy
Having prescriptions filled at multiple pharmacies can lead to confusion and miscommunication, problems with filling your medications on time, and ultimately worse health outcomes for you should your medications be delayed in reaching you. Building a rapport with your pharmacist and asking questions is a great way to put yourself at the forefront of your own health care and makes you the MVP of your health care team. Good communication is key, especially when it comes to sorting through insurance issues or prescription refills – making the process of finding solutions to these problems much more efficient.
3. READ the labels AND...
Fully understand how to take what you’re taking. This goes for any over-the-counter products you are considering as well. But first, always ask your doctor and pharmacist if it is safe to do so, keeping your other medications in mind.
4. Never split a tablet or open a capsule
Unless of course the pharmacist said it was okay. Time and time again adverse drug events have occurred because a patient split a tablet or opened a capsule when they simply didn’t know they shouldn’t have. A good rule of thumb is to never split a tablet or capsule that is labelled as an “extended release” formulation, for example. These are specifically formulated to be released over time and once you alter the integrity of that tablet or capsule, you may put yourself at risk of overdosing as more medication is now allowed to be absorbed more rapidly into your system. If this happens with a blood pressure-lowering medication, you put yourself at risk of dangerously low blood pressure. To give you another example, if doing this with a blood sugar-lowering medication used for diabetes, you put yourself at dangerously low blood sugar levels and the associated consequences of that. All in all, always ask your pharmacist if you can split a pill.