Know your medicines – get it right!
Local survey indicates seniors not using medicines correctly. Here’s what you need to know.
BY: Asst Prof Christine Teng
A survey conducted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore showed that about seven in 10 patients aged 50 and above do not use medicines correctly. The top three medicated-related problems encountered are – not using the medication strictly as prescribed, not knowing about the medication they are using, and showing side effects towards the medication.
Medication plays an important part of managing our health. When you fall sick, your doctor may give you many medications to bring home and manage on your own. If you don’t take your medicines as instructed, they may not work as well or they may even harm your health.
Used appropriately, medications save lives, decrease or cure diseases and improve quality of life. Persons given medications should know important information about the medications prescribed and follow instructions on proper medication use in order to obtain maximum benefits from medications prescribed.
At the doctor’s office
Here are some questions you should be asking your doctor about your medicines. Ask questions and if you need to, write the answers down:
- What is the name of the medicine and why am I using it?
- What medical condition does this medicine treat?
- What time(s) of the day should I take this medicine? How much medicine should I take? Should I take it before or after food?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- How long will it take for this medicine to work? When should I stop using it?
- Are there any side effects I should know about? What should I do if I get a side effect?
- Can I safely mix this medicine with other remedies, vitamins, and over-the-counter medicines I am taking?
- What kind of food, drink or activities should I avoid while on this medicine?
If you have any questions or concerns about your medicines, be sure to ask you doctor or pharmacist for advice. And remember, to get the most out of your medications, it is important to “Know your medicines, (and) get it right!”
** Christine Teng is the president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. She is an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore and the principal pharmacist (clinical) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
SIDEBOX: It is your turn
Now that you have your medicines, it is up to you to take them safely. Here are some tips from the National Institute on Aging in the US that can help:
(** PHOTO CREDIT: tablet, bjearwicke, stock.xchng)