Medication Safety Articles

 

Now is a great time to see if any of your medicines should be discarded because they are too old or no longer needed.

If you or a family member has been hospitalized, the first few days after returning home can be confusing. In fact, let's use the word "risky" when it comes to medication use.

Most pills you need to swallow are available commercially in the dosage strengths commonly prescribed for patients. Or, if need be, a liquid or suspension might be available. But this is not always the case. Occasionally, the exact dose of medication you need is not available commercially, so part of a tablet or capsule may be needed.

People who take medicines to treat chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, asthma, or diabetes, need to fill their prescriptions regularly. Many pharmacies allow people to sign up for an automatic refill service so they don't run out of their medicines because they forget to call for refills. Once you sign up for this service, all your prescriptions for ongoing medicines are automatically refilled until there are no more refills left on the prescription. Each month, the pharmacy then notifies you when they are ready to be picked up.

Many people make resolutions to become healthier by eating right and exercising more. Most of the time people focus more on losing weight. That is good as long as it is done over time. Unfortunately, many people look for a “quick fix” to shed pounds rapidly. So, they turn to diet fads and over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss aids. Many of these diets and products are potentially dangerous, and some diet products are illegal.

Creams, ointments, gels, sprays, lotions and patches are medicines that will enter your body by penetrating through the skin and entering the bloodstream. They can cause side effects if you use too much of the medicine.

Liquid medicines, especially those required for small children and pets, are often measured using oral syringes. Sometimes, there is a device that comes with the syringe called an adapter. This allows the oral syringe to directly attach to the bottle, eliminating the step of pouring the liquid into a cup for withdrawal by an oral syringe.Using a syringe adapter is a convenient way to accurately measure and administer liquids. However, depending on the actual product, parents should be aware they are not always childproof.

Acetaminophen is the most commonly used medication for pain and fever in infants and children. The drug is commonly known as Tylenol, but it is also widely sold under its generic name acetaminophen. Until just recently, there have been two forms of liquid acetaminophen available, children's, which is 160 mg per 5 mL and infants, which is actually more concentrated at 80 mg per 0.8 mL.

Medicines are costly. So it's no surprise that most people are thankful when they leave the doctor's office with a bagful of medicine samples. Of course, doctors don't have samples of every medicine.They only have samples of certain medicines that drug companies decide to offer, hoping to boost sales. But when your doctor wants you to try a new medicine, he may be able to give you a small supply of samples to take home. This way, he can make sure that you tolerate the medicine and that it's working as expected before you have to pay for a prescription.

Many injectable medicines are now available in devices that look like pens (see Figure 1). Pen injectors offer consumers a reliable way to give themselves injectable medicines. In some pen styles, the cap is removed and a small needle is attached. The pens are already filled with medicine. Measuring the right dose can be as easy as turning a dial on the pen.

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