Eight recommendations for the correct use of medicines

During the current winter period, the use of medication is more often necessary even for those who rarely get sick, while for those for whom seasonal illness is an additional burden for one or even several chronic diseases, this period can be especially challenging, says pharmacist of “Mēnes Aptiekas” Erika Pētersone.

“In order to achieve the goal of therapy, it is important to follow the instructions of the doctor and pharmacist when using both prescription and non-prescription drugs and be sure to ask the pharmacist about everything related to the storage and use of drugs! Pharmacists’ observations show that people do not always think that in cases where they are already taking medicines on a daily basis, when starting to treat a general illness additionally, they should take into account what medicines and how much they are already taking. Also, last winter, due to the pandemic, we wore masks in public, we were at home more and probably we didn’t even experience a runny nose or cough, meanwhile, perhaps the medicines we bought earlier for their treatment have expired – it should definitely be checked! Not often, but it is observed that there are patients who, when the symptoms of the disease appear, without consulting a doctor or pharmacist and also without carefully following the medication instructions, take various over-the-counter medicines in the evening, hoping to be well the next day or at least, for example, to go to work . You definitely shouldn’t do that – such behavior will not only not help you quickly recover your health, but it can also cause some health problems to worsen,” says “Mēnes Aptiekas” pharmacist Erika Pētersone.

Here is the most important thing to always consider!

·         Medicines must be taken for a certain period of time and must not be stopped arbitrarily.

·         If it is necessary to take several medications and/or nutritional supplements at the same time, consult a doctor or pharmacist about the correct use of the medication to reduce the risk of interactions and side effects.

·         Before using the medicine, read the instructions for the medicine. Do not take a higher dose of medicine thinking it will help you better, do not take half the prescribed dose or skip doses.

·          It is not recommended to crush, divide or open the capsules of the medicine, unless your doctor or pharmacist has given you some special instructions. The active substance of the drug may have a coating that should not be damaged, as this may affect the dissolution and absorption of the drug.

·         Medicines should be taken at the same time as directed, before or after meals or on an empty stomach. This is important because taking some medicines with food can interfere with the absorption of the medicine. There are certain drug groups that, on the contrary, are recommended to be taken after meals to reduce the risk of side effects or promote better absorption.

·         When using medicine, attention should be paid to products that are taken on a daily basis. For example, there are medicines that should not be taken with dairy products. Be especially careful with grapefruit and grapefruit juice, as it can interfere with the proper functioning of the medicine. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking the medicine.

·         It is not recommended to take the medicine with carbonated, sweetened drinks, coffee or tea. All the drinks mentioned above can adversely affect the effect of the medicine. It is recommended to drink at least half a glass of water with the medicine (unless otherwise instructed).

·         Attention should be paid to the storage conditions of the medicine. Some medications should be stored at room temperature, others should be refrigerated after opening. Certain medications are meant to be refrigerated, but can be kept at room temperature after opening. Special attention should be paid if there is no set period in which the medicine should be used after opening.

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