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Medication safety tips you should know

You may find yourself filling up the medicine cabinet as you age.

From over-the-counter medications to supplements and prescriptions, it’s important to use your medications safely to avoid unwanted side effects and interactions as you age.

Seniors are more likely to use additional medications, which increases the chance of harmful side effects and potential complications. The FDA offers these important medication safety tips you should know:

1. Use medicine as prescribed.

Do not take prescription medication that was not prescribed for you. Taking someone else’s medication can be dangerous. If you are experiencing side effects, talk to your health care provider. If you skip or stop taking a prescribed medication without talking to your doctor, it can lead to an increase in complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States, 125,000 deaths occur every year because of medicines not being taken correctly.

2. Store your medicine properly.

Some medications require refrigeration, while other types of medicine cannot be exposed to high temperatures. Most medicines are best stored in a cool, dry place.

Keep medications away from children. If you don’t take a medication daily, be sure to check the expiration date. Expired medications can be harmful to yourself, children, grandchildren and pets of taken accidentally.

3. Be aware of potential side effects.

Food, alcohol and even non-alcoholic drinks can have a reaction with your medication. Learn about the possible side effects, read the drug facts label and talk to your doctor.

4. Keep a medication list.

It is important to write down everything you are taking and keep the list in an accessible location and up to date. Give a copy of the list to a trusted friend or loved one in case of emergency.

The list should include the medicine’s name, reason for use, dosage and frequency. Include the name of your pharmacy, too.

If you see more than one health care provider, be sure to share your medication list with each one at least on an annual basis. Your pharmacist will also advise you on potential medication interactions and side effects.

Heritage Woods of Minooka, an Assisted Lifestyle Community for the Older Adult, 701 Heritage Woods Drive, Minooka, IL, 60447, 815-467-2837,

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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