Healthy Aging: You and Your Medicines, Part 4

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Healthy Aging: You and Your Medicines, Part 4

How to take prescription medicines

You may take multiple medications to treat several conditions as you grow older. Follow these tips to best manage your prescriptions:

Follow your doctor’s instructions and read (and keep) thepackage insert information, if available. Have your doctor write down instructions if you don’t understand or are worried about forgetting them.

Take your medicines for the whole time they are prescribed, even if you feel better.

Take only your own medicines. Taking someone else’s medicine may hide your symptoms and make diagnosing your illness more difficult for your doctor.

Know about your medicines. If you take more than one medicine, be able to tell them apart by size, shape, color, number or name imprint, form (tablet or capsule), or container.

Plan for medicines you need to take during the night. If you need to take more than one medicine, try not to keep them by your bedside. If you must, and there are no small children or pets in your home, place the pills you will need during the night on your bedside table. Turn on the light and make sure you’re taking the right medicine at the right time.

Before you travel, ask your doctor or pharmacist how to adjust your medicine schedule to account for changes in time, routine and diet. Bring the phone numbers of your doctors and pharmacists with you. When flying, carry your medicines with you; do not pack them in your checked luggage. When traveling, always keep medicines out of heat and direct sunlight.

If there are children in your home, remember to put medicines out of their sight and reach, and don’t take medicines in front of them.

Get prescriptions refilled early enough to avoid running out of medicine, which may cause problems with your medicine schedule.

Organize your medicines at home. Many people use a chart or written schedule to keep track of their medicines. Some find containers with different colored caps, different sections or with alarms that go off at set times helpful.

Keep medicines in a cool, dry place, away from bright light. A kitchen cabinet or bedroom shelf may be good storage places. Medicines should not be kept in places where heat and moisture can alter their effectiveness. Do not keep medicines in the refrigerator, unless your doctor, pharmacist or the label tells you.

If you to buy medicines on the Internet, check the website for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program and seal of approval to make sure the site is properly licensed and has been successfully reviewed and inspected by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Always keep medicines in their original containers, and never put more than one kind of medication in the same container.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 5 of “Aging Healthy: You and Your Medicines.”

Roslyn Daniels