Medication Management Overview

At one point in our lives, we have all taken medication. Examples include Tylenol, or an Aspirin for a headache or a muscle strain. However, some of us have to take medication daily for the rest of our lives due to some physical or systemic disease.

There are different categories of medications- Over the Counter (OTC), Prescription, and Herbal are the most common.

The OTC medications are the ones that you purchase at your local drug store/pharmacy at your own risk or without a medical provider’s direction.

  • Examples are ibuprofen, Aleve, aspirin, and cough syrup.

The prescription drugs are written by a medical provider such as a physician, nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant.

  • Examples include medications to control blood pressure or diabetes.

Herbal medications are another category. Some can be prescribed by medical providers such as CoEnzyme Q10 and fish oil supplements. Most natural or herbal substances are not prescribed secondary to inadequate research to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The aforementioned can all be beneficial in one way or another but there can also be untoward effects. It is important to keep in mind that there are different formulations to medications, such as pills, patches, drops, ointments, injections, inhalers, etc.

You may ask, how should I or my care giver manage my medications? Below is a short list of key things to be aware of.

Make sure there are labels on each medication bottle/package. The label should have the name, dose, maximum number of times indicated per day, when to take the medication, and expiration date just to name a few. Follow the instructions carefully.

Know the indication for the medication and the parameters for you not to take it.

  • For example, if you happen to monitor your blood pressure daily and it is significantly below normal, you may have to hold off on taking your blood pressure medication and immediately contact your physician. Taking the medication can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and you may even pass out.

  • In the instance that you take medication for diabetes and monitor your sugar levels daily, if it is below normal, do not take the usual dose and immediately contact your prescribing physician. Taking the medication in this case can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and you may even pass out.

Monitor for side effects or unwanted effects.

  • Examples include nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, loose stools, constipation confusion, and rash to name a few.

Keep all medications in a safe place and away from children.

Prescription medication should never be shared with another person even if it is your spouse.

Keep a current list of all medications. Each time you visit your doctor/hospital, this list should be updated as needed. Inform your medical provider of all medications that you are taking. This list should be readily available in case of an emergency.

Discard of the medications that your medical provider has discontinued in order to avoid life threatening events.

****Call your medical provider if you are having any problems with your medications, prescription or non-prescription.

If a caregiver is managing your medications, then they must be aware of all the above as well.