Pharmacy Self Care advice on safe use of medicines
We all need to take medicines at some time during our lives - for some it is everyday, others only sometimes for a cold or headache.
Whether you buy medicines or get them on prescription,
Self Care pharmacists have some good suggestions for taking medicines properly, and for getting the best results from their use.
Know what your medicines are for. Even if your doctor has explained, when you collect your medicines discuss with your pharmacist what each medicine is for. Your pharmacist can give you information on the expected effects of each medicine and how to take or use them correctly, and whether they will interact with other medicines you have been prescribed or medicines that you have purchased.
Before taking any medicine, read the label carefully to confirm you are taking the correct medicine, the correct dose, at the correct time. This is especially important if you take many medicines at different times of the day. Labels have other important information such as when to take the medicines in relation to food (with food or on an empty stomach), whether the medicine must be swallowed whole, whether it has to be used-up by a certain date. Pharmacists can also advise you if you miss a dose and when to take the next one. Sometimes medication may be large and difficult to swallow. Not all tablets and capsules can be halved or crushed and your pharmacist can help you with this. Talk to your pharmacist if you develop any unusual symptoms after you start taking a medicine.
Always measure liquid medicines accurately, using proper measures, to make sure you get the correct dose.
Drink a large glass of water as you swallow tablets or capsules. This will stop the medicine becoming stuck in your throat and help it get down to your stomach quickly to start working as soon as possible. It helps to lean forward as you swallow.
Store medicines correctly and dispose of them safely. Safe means out of reach of children - preferably in a locked cupboard. This is really vital when children come to your home only occasionally. Store medicines in a dry place, away from direct light or heat, so they don’t degrade. However, some medicines need to be kept in the fridge.
Don’t keep medicines that are no longer needed. Despite the wastage, there are safety concerns in keeping old medicines ‘‘just in case’’.