Polypharmacy, which is defined as taking multiple prescription medications, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter products, comes with various risks, including harmful drug interactions. That’s because the more medicine you take, the easier it becomes to miss doses or make other mistakes, which can often mean a visit to the emergency room, hospitalization, or worse.
Pay Attention To Doctors
When your doctor or health care professional is discussing your medications with you, be sure to listen to them carefully. You should also ask them questions and if there’s anything you don’t understand or are unsure about, you should stop them and ask them to clarify instructions before proceeding. Remember that it’s part of their job to explain these things, so they’re always happy to help you understand everything.
Not only will getting your questions answered before leaving reduce your chance of making a mistake, but they’ll also provide other important information about the medication. This might include information about possible side effects such as whether your medication will keep you awake all night or make you too drowsy for driving, and if you need to take them on an empty stomach or with a meal.
Get To Know Your Pharmacist
Because your pharmacist will be your primary contact with a healthcare professional, they will be able to assist you with the management of your medication. Always talk to your pharmacist any time you get a new prescription, making sure you ask them any questions you may have such as what it is used for, when you should take it, and any other important instructions. You should also learn what each pill looks like, so you can talk to your pharmacist if you ever receive pills that look different.
Most pharmacists also keep electronic records of all prescriptions you’re taking, so they will be able to run an interaction check for the combination of all your medications. They will get a red flag if your doctor/s have prescribed conflicting medications, enabling them to advise you about any side effects they may cause when taken together, or warn you against taking them all together. As you can see, it’s actually in your best interest to always get your prescriptions from the same pharmacy. So get to know them and make sure they get acquainted with you as well.
Stay Organized With A Pill Box
One of the most helpful ways to manage your medication is to organize your doses with a pill box. Not only will this ensure you always take the correct amount of doses per day, but you will be able to tell just by looking at the box if you’ve had your medication or not. That means no chance of extra doses, no more second-guessing yourself, and no more counting how many pills are left in the bottle.
The most common pill boxes have a compartment each for morning and evening, but they are actually available in a wide variety of other styles too. Some only have one compartment for each day, whereas others have multiple compartments divided up by the time of day or breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. Alternatively, if you’re tech-savvy, there are a number of apps designed to remind you when you need medications as well as track how often you have taken them.
If you are struggling with the number of drugs you need to take, with a number of pills for multiple conditions, simply follow the steps above so you can manage all your medications safely and effectively.