Prescription drugs such as painkillers, stimulants, anti-anxiety medicines, and sedatives are used to treat specific medical conditions. However, sometimes, people may use these drugs in unintended ways. For example, some may take them to relieve tension, ease pain, increase alertness, get high, maintain an addiction, or improve concentration at work or school.
Notably, misusing prescription drugs can result in both immediate and long-term health problems, including low and high blood pressure, heart problems, slowed breathing, hallucinations, hyperactivity, and changes in physical health. Therefore, using medication effectively as prescribed by the doctor is crucial to help preventing drug addiction and its negative consequences.
That said, here are the dos and don’ts of prescription drugs:
The following are the dos prescription drugs:
1- Follow The Doctors Prescriptions
When using prescription drugs, it is essential to follow the exact dose and schedule recommended by your doctor. You may be tempted to take more of a drug than recommended to improve its effectiveness, but excessive dosage can be dangerous. For example, high doses of aspirin can cause bleeding. Therefore, you should adhere to the doctor’s instructions. If you miss a dose, don’t take two doses the next time. Instead, consult your doctor for further guidance.
2- Inquire About The Side Effects Of The Drug
Both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs have side effects. These adverse reactions can vary from minor issues such as drowsiness, runny nose, dry mouth, and upset stomach to life-threatening events like a heart attack or liver damage.
Therefore, ask your healthcare professional about the possible side effects of the prescribed drug and what you can do to reduce the risks. For example, they may advise you to take medication with food to reduce the chance of nausea. Most importantly, if these adverse reactions occur and you’re unable to alleviate the effects, inform your doctor immediately. They may suggest effective ways to deal with the side effects, such as a dietary change, switching to a different medication, or adjusting the dosage.
3- Store Your Drugs In A Safe Place
Heat, air, moisture, and light may damage your drugs, so be careful where you store them. Ideally, medication should be stored in a cool, dry place at temperatures below 30°C. You can keep them in a kitchen cabinet away from hot appliances or a storage box on your shelf. Additionally, ensure all drugs are stored out of reach of children. Read the label for more instructions on storing your prescription drugs.
4- Inform Your Doctor About Other Medications, Vitamins, Or Supplements You’re Taking
It’s crucial to inform your doctor about any other medications or supplements you’re taking so they can confirm if both drugs can be taken safely together. Various medications, vitamins, and supplements used simultaneously can cause harmful interactions. In particular, specific vitamins and supplements may reduce the effectiveness of prescription medications.
For example, calcium supplements can bind to certain prescription drugs, affecting absorption. In that case, the drugs become less effective in treating your illness. So, it’s crucial for your doctor to know what you’re taking to be on the lookout for possible drug interactions.
5- Check The Expiration Date
After the expiration date, prescription drugs may not be effective or safe. Therefore, ensure you check the expiration date before using them. You can find it on the medicine packaging or label. Also, if the drugs taste or smell bad before expiration, contact your doctor for advice.
Don’t do the following when using prescription drugs:
1- Don’t Mix Alcohol And Prescription Drugs
Most drugs have harmful interactions with alcohol. Notably, according to researchers, alcohol can raise drug levels in the bloodstream to toxic levels. This may increase the risk of internal bleeding, liver damage, or heart problems. Also, other combinations may cause drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, headaches, and loss of coordination.
Here are some common prescription medications most likely to interact dangerously with alcohol:
– Flu, cold, and allergy medications
– Anti-anxiety medications
– Prescription sleep aids
– Blood thinners
– Muscle relaxers
– Diabetes prescriptions
– High blood pressure prescriptions
Generally, you’re encouraged to avoid alcohol when using prescription drugs.
2- Don’t Swap Prescription Drugs
Don’t take drugs prescribed for someone else, and don’t allow other people to take drugs prescribed for you. People react to medications differently. What works for you may not work well for another person. For example, you may have an allergic reaction to specific drugs. Also, hormones may impact how drugs affect men and women. Therefore, swapping prescription drugs isn’t a good idea.
3- Don’t Transfer A Drug From The Original Container
The original container is labeled with the exact medicine dosage you’re supposed to take, the expiry date, and other instructions. You may lose this information if you transfer the medicine to a different container. Additionally, the containers are designed to protect the drugs from heat, air, light, and moisture. That’s why you’re encouraged to keep prescribed medications in the original labeled containers.
When taken correctly, prescription medications can be highly effective. However, misusing these drugs may result in serious health implications. Therefore, adhering to the dos and don’ts of using prescription drugs is crucial. Most importantly, ensure you follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.
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