Medication can be a powerful tool in maintaining and improving our health, but it is not without risks. When not used properly, medication can lead to adverse effects and cause serious harm. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported receiving more than 100,000 reports every year related to medication errors.
It is, therefore, essential to practice safe medication use. In this article, we will discuss five important rules to follow when taking medication to help you stay safe and get the most out of your treatment.
By following these rules, you can take charge of your medication use and protect your health. So, let’s get started!
Avoid Over-The-Counter Medication
While over-the-counter (OTC) medications can provide relief from a variety of common ailments, such as headaches, allergies, and cold symptoms, it is important to recognize that they are still medications and should be used with caution.
To practice safe medication use, it is important to avoid OTC medications as a first resort for every symptom or ailment. Instead, consider alternative methods of treatment, such as rest, hydration, or natural remedies, whenever possible.
If the situation is such that you have no option but to take OTC medication, read the label carefully to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your specific condition and that it does not interact with any prescription medications you may be taking. If you have any doubts or questions, consult your healthcare provider or a pharmacist for guidance.
Always Check the Active Ingredients
One of the most important aspects of safe medication use is awareness of the active ingredients in your medications. Active ingredients are the chemicals in medications responsible for producing the desired therapeutic effects.
Checking the active ingredients is important because it helps you stay informed on what drugs you are putting inside your body and identify potential side effects associated with them.
A recent example of the importance of checking active ingredients is the Tepezza Lawsuit of 2022. Tepezza (Teprotumumab) is a medication used to treat thyroid eye disease (TED). The medication has been linked to partial or permanent hearing loss in some patients who have taken it.
The manufacturers, Horizon Therapeutics, are currently being sued for failure to warn patients of the potential side effects of the medication. This is a clear example of how failing to check the active ingredients of a medication can have serious consequences.
Check for Interactions With Other Drugs
Another key principle of safe medication use is being aware of the potential interactions between your medication and other drugs or food.
Medication interactions can occur when two or more drugs interact with each other in a way that changes how they are metabolized or how they affect the body. Interactions can also occur when a drug interacts with food or supplements, leading to changes in absorption or effectiveness.
One such example is grapefruit juice. It is known to interact with many medications, including certain statins and blood pressure medications. The interaction can result in a significant increase in the concentration of the medication in the body, leading to potentially serious side effects, such as muscle damage or kidney failure.
Track Your Side Effects
Tracking side effects is important because it helps you to identify any adverse effects you may be experiencing, monitor changes in your condition, and communicate effectively with your healthcare provider about any concerns or changes.
One of the primary reasons why tracking side effects is important is that it can help you identify any potential safety concerns. Some side effects may be harmless or minor, while others may be more serious or even life-threatening.
Additionally, tracking side effects can help you monitor changes in your condition over time. For example, if you are taking medication for a chronic condition, tracking your side effects can help you and your healthcare provider evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment over time. This can help your healthcare provider to make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
Practice Caution With Online Pharmacies
Online pharmacies have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and accessibility. Reports suggest that the online pharmacy market is projected to grow by nearly 13.40% in the forecast period of 2023-2027, showing that more and more consumers are choosing to buy outside the traditional supply chain.
However, it is important to note that buying medicines from online pharmacies doesn’t come without its risks. One of the key risks associated with online pharmacies is the potential for counterfeit or substandard medications.
Some online pharmacies may sell fake or low-quality medications, which can be ineffective, unsafe, or even life-threatening. These medications may not contain the active ingredients as advertised or may contain harmful substances.
In addition, some online pharmacies may be operating illegally or may not have appropriate licenses or certifications. While buying medicines from an online pharmacy, ensure that they are licensed and accredited, check the credentials of the pharmacist or healthcare provider associated with them, and do not forget to verify the authenticity of the medication.
Practicing safe medication use is an essential part of maintaining good health and well-being. By following the rules mentioned in this article, you avoid medication errors, reduce the risk of harmful side effects, and ensure that you are using medication in the most effective way possible.