Managing Your Medicine

1.    Proper Use

Medicines are generally very safe if used properly. This means taking them at the right dose, the right way and the right time. Otherwise the medicine might not work as well as it should or might even cause unpleasant side-effects.

  • Do not take more than the prescribed dose or take the medicine more often than recommended. TWICE AS MUCH DOESN'T MEAN TWICE AS GOOD.

  • If you forget to take your medicine, don't double the next dose. Doubling up on medicine is dangerous because it may lead to overdosage.

  • Don't use other people's medicine. A medicine that is good for you may be bad for someone else, even if the symptoms are similar. So don't share medicine with family or friends. They should see their own doctor or pharmacist for advice.

  • Don't mix medicine without seeking advice first. If you take two medicine containing the same ingredient, you could be taking an overdose. Some medicine can react with others to produce unpleasant side effects while some can block the actions of others - and actually stop them from working. Before taking your medicine home, make sure you tell your pharmacist if you are taking any other medicine. If you go to the same pharmacy regularly, you could ask the pharmacist to keep a record of your medicine to help detect any potential problems.

2.    Self Medication

Before you treat yourself, think of these facts:

  • Many illness run short, natural courses
    Uncomplicated cold usually are cure by themselves. Most sore throats get better in a few days, with or without treatment. They are usually caused by viruses which are not cured by antibiotics.

  • Symptoms do not always need treatment
    Coughing gets rid of excessive secretion. If a cough is deep and distressing, or disturbs sleep, a cough mixture is good; but a daytime cough should mostly be allowed to do its work.

  • Some medicine are harmful
    Some medicine can be harmful especially if taken for a long time, e.g. nose drops should be instilled for occasional relief only.

  • Some medicine can create dependence or addiction
    Many people become dependent on sleeping tablets and anti-anxiety drugs.

3.    What You Need To Know About Your Medicine

There are a number of things that you should know about each medicine you are taking. These include:

  • What is the name of the medicine?

  • Why am I taking it?

  • What will it do for me?

  • When should I take it? What is the best time and how often?

  • How to take it and how much?

  • Do I have any alternatives to this medicine?

  • What should I do if I miss a dose?

  • Are there any side effects? What to do if they appear?

  • How long to wait before reporting no change in symptoms?

  • How long should I continue taking it?

  • Will this medicine affect any other medicines I am taking?

  • Any food or beverages I should avoid?

  • How should I store my medicine?

4.    How to Store Your Medicine

It is important to store your medicines properly. Guidelines for proper storage include:

  • Keep out of reach of children

  • Store away from direct heat and light

  • Do not store capsules and tablets in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down. In addition, do not leave the cotton plug in a medicine container that has been opened since it may draw moisture into the container.

  • Do not store medicine in the refrigerator unless directed to do so.

  • Do not leave your medicine in an automobile for long period of time.

  • Do not keep outdated/expired medicine or medicine that is no longer needed.

4.    When Traveling

Carry your medicine with you rather then putting it in your checked luggage. Make sure an adequate source of medicine is available when you travel or take enough supply until the last day during your visit. It is also a good idea to take a copy of your written prescription with you in case you need it.

5.    Side Effects of Your Medicine

Along with its intended effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Some of these side effects may need medical attention; while others may not. If you are suffering from any unwanted effects, tell your doctor or pharmacist. If you want to know more about possible side effects before commencing any therapy, ask your doctor or pharmacist. They may have an information leaflet on the medicine.

6.     Additional Information

  • It is a good idea for you to learn the name of your medicine and even to write them down and keep them for future use.

  • If you must take your medicine every day, do not wait until you have run out of medicine before requesting a refill.

  • If you find it hard to remember when to take your medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist for some suggestions.

  • Read the label each time you take a dose.

7.     Don'ts

  • Don't leave the pharmacy without fully understanding the instructions.

  • Don't stop a prescribed course of pills because you feel better. Antibiotics must not be stopped too soon since some of harmful bacteria may not be killed. These bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotic and may multiply and grow again thus causing a relapse of the disease.

  • Don't end a course of medicine because of some minor side effects or because you are better overnight or believe they are not doing any good. Some medicines may take time to work.