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Medication Management

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Keeping Track of Medications Safely
By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 3)

A special word about antibiotics: These are meant to be taken in their entirety when they are prescribed. Saving some for the next infection may cause serious health problems. Bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics and need even stronger medication the next time. Plus, for the second infection, a different class of antibiotics may be used in order to prevent resistance build-up.

Watch for Side Effects:

Seniors especially can be sensitive to new medications. Ask your doctor about possible side effects of the medication and how it may react with other medicines that you are currently taking. Most pharmacies hand out leaflets with information about drug side effects and when to contact the doctor. Read these leaflets and keep them in a safe place for future reference, especially if you have to take the medicine long-term. Caregivers need to be aware of how to cross-reference these and hand-carry them to the doctor if necessary to be sure that the right medication is being prescribed.

Borrowing or Lending Medicine:

A big concern for physicians today is taking medication intended for someone else. This is a dangerous practice that needs to be eliminated. Prescription medication should never be taken by anyone else than for whom it was intended. Other individuals have special medical histories and may also be taking other medicines that can cause serious drug interactions. By the same token, never give away your old prescription medication.

What if medication is left over and you want to donate it? The best advice here is not to donate it. Most places canít accept medication donations and will only have to dispose of the medicine after you leave. If you think they may be able to use it, call ahead to find out. There are some outreach projects that are able to accept donated medications, providing that specific instructions are followed. Donít assume that the charity will be able to accept your medication (or medical supplies even) without checking with them first.

Skipping Doses:

Take each medicine as prescribed and donít skip doses to make the medication stretch further. Skipping doses can cause problems later when your condition isnít managed properly. If you need help paying for medications, there are more than 40 patient assistance programs available depending on your situation and the programís guidelines.


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