There’s a right way and a wrong way to take prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. All medications are chemicals designed to alter something that’s going on inside you. To make sure you’re getting the most from your medications:
- Read the label and the accompanying pamphlets. It’s important to take your medication as directed, including OTC drugs. Pay particular attention to when and how to take your medications. Certain medications and foods taken together actually inactivate the medication. For example:
– Did you know taking hormones within an hour of drinking caffeine can cancel effects the medication would have had? – Newer ‘big’ gun’ antibiotics, like ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and Avelox, are especially sensitive to being inactivated by other medications. If you take vitamins, calcium, or anti-acids within two hours of taking certain antibiotics the antibiotic may not ‘kill’ your bacterial infection. Others like the Z pack need to be taken 2hours after meals or one hour before. These expensive infection fighting ’bullets’ won’t work for you unless you take them properly.
- Know when it’s okay NOT to call the doctor. Some common illnesses, like the flu, can be dealt with without seeing a doctor. Oftentimes taking OTC medications and using common sense, like getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids, is easier and cheaper than seeing a doctor. Asking for advice from a pharmacist is also a smart option. They can be very helpful.
- Keep a current list of your prescription and OTC medications, as well as any allergies. It’s smart to keep this list on you at all times. The list should include the dose you take and the time you take it, such as before meals or at hour of sleep. Make sure your pharmacist and health care professionals are aware of ALL the medications you take and when you take them.
- Make sure you know what you are taking and why you are taking it. We all know that mistakes happen. Check to ensure that what the doctor prescribed is what the pharmacist gives you. Does the medicine make sense for you? If not, don’t take it until you are sure. It’s your body so use common sense and take care of it!
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