Common sense necessary for prescription and non-prescription drugs

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Most of us seem to need a drug or two in order to combat the aches and pains that happen in our senior years.  Here are a few tips on the safety of drug use.  (I’m not getting into illegal drugs; just those that are prescribed.)

Medicines should never be stored where they will be exposed to sunlight.  Keep them in a spot that has a constant temperature and moisture level.  And, just in case grandkids come to visit, make sure the meds are out of reach.  The medicine cabinet in the bathroom isn’t really the best place for them due to steamy showers and concentrated heat.  Some can lose potency and others can become toxic – not in the fridge either, unless the pharmacist specifically instructs you to keep them cool.

Tragically, many seniors suffer from misuse and unintentional abuse from prescription and nonprescription drugs.  Here are a few prevention safety tips:

·Keep all meds in their original pharmacy vials – you may need the numbers for reordering.

·Carry a list of your meds with you, and show it to any professional who treats you or fills prescriptions.

·Read the label each time you take your meds.  Just make sure you are taking the right one.

·Make sure you’re fully awake before taking meds at night.  Turn on a light so you can see.

·Have poor vision?  Mark vials with different coloured dots or other symbols.

·Measure tinctures exactly.

·Keep sleeping pills or capsules away from your bedside.  It’s easy to take too many accidentally.

·Never give drugs to anyone else, and never take anyone else’s medication.

·Make sure any non-prescription drugs don’t conflict with your meds.  Check with a pharmacist.

·Observe all warnings about non-prescription drugs.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist if they are safe.

·Having difficulty opening childproof caps?  Your pharmacist can put your meds in a different vial.

·Become familiar with the ingredients in each product you may be taking.  If you take more than one medicine that has the same ingredient, you could be taking an overdose.  Note: this applies also to herbal medications.

·Take unused meds that are no longer needed to the pharmacist for safe disposal.

While there are many more safety tips on this subject, hopefully those listed will help keep us on track.  Rely on pharmacists – they are the experts.