This Issue

Medication Safety: The dos and don’ts of prescription drugs

Easy access belies over-the-counter drugs’ health risks

Medicine: A lifeline — when used correctly

Flu facts & tips

Q & A

A closer look

Ask questions. You’re the one who suffers the consequences if you don’t.

  1. What is the name (brand and generic) of the medicine?
    What is it for?

  2. What’s the dose?

  3. How do I take it and how often?

  4. What food, drinks or other medicines should I avoid
    while taking this medicine?

  5. What are the possible side effects?
    What should I do if I have side effects?

  6. What should I do if I miss a dose or accidentally
    take more than the recommended dose?

  7. When will the medicine start working?

  8. Is there any written information I can take home with me?

Ask questions. You’re the one who suffers the consequences if you don’t

Take all of this …
Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections, such as pneumonia and strep throat, but are not effective against viruses, like the common cold or the flu. It is important to finish your medicine even if you feel better. If an antibiotic is stopped prematurely, the bacteria may not be completely killed, which can increase their resistance to the antibiotic. This can result in a re-infection of now resistant bacteria.
… but not too much of this
Acetaminophen is a common and effective pain reliever and fever reducer. Many people are unaware, however, that acetaminophen is found in many prescription pain relievers as well as numerous over-the-counter products to treat cold and allergy symptoms and menstrual cramps. The maximum daily dose — from all sources — is 4,000 milligrams. Use caution when taking two or more drugs that contain acetaminophen. Excessive use can result in liver damage.

For a detailed list of products that contain acetaminophen, visit
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a681004.html.

A double take

Take all of this … but not too much of this

Help your doctor help you …
… and keep a headache diary

In order to pinpoint your type of headache, which will help to diagnose and treat it correctly, pay close attention when it surfaces.

Keep track of:

  • the date of each headache
  • the time it started and the time it ended
  • type of pain and intensity on a scale of 1 to 10
  • where the pain is centered
  • foods and beverages you had during the last day
  • amount of sleep and caffeine
  • stress level
  • any sensitivity to light, sound or odors
  • the date of your menstrual cycle if you are female
  • weather conditions
  • type of treatment and its effect
  • your thoughts and actions shortly before the pain began

Discuss any frequent headaches with your doctor, who can recommend appropriate treatment.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience a very severe, sudden, or explosive headache (especially after a head injury or if your headache is accompanied by stiff neck and fever, weakness, or difficulty speaking or seeing, which could signal more serious problems, such as meningitis or stroke).

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A closer look

Before you leave the
drug store, get the facts.


Read the drug label to make sure the prescription is
yours and matches the one written by your provider.


October is
Talk About Prescriptions
Month


There are checks and balances to prevent prescription errors, but slip ups can occur.

Take a second look to make sure you get the right medicine.
More


A closer look

Before you leave the drug store,
get the facts.



Read the drug label to make sure the prescription is yours and matches the one written by your provider. More





Medication Safety: The dos and don’ts of prescription drugs

Timothy Velasquez, 67, is like a lot of people — rarely, if ever, did he extensively question the details of his prescription drugs.

If questions were few to his doctor, they were even less to his pharmacist. “I trusted those guys,” he said. “They put [the drugs] in a bag and I walked out.”

Velasquez can only shake his head at his past irresponsible attitude. Especially in light of the fact that he is on 10 different drugs for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other medical complications. He considers himself fortunate. More

Easy access belies over-the-counter drugs’ health risks

Stephanie Andrews learned her lesson the hard way.

Like most people, the 36-year-old mother of two, who asked that her real name not be used, underestimated the potency and impact of the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs she was taking to relieve her abdominal cramps. More



Medicine: A lifeline — when used correctly

Whether you have a chronic health issue like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or a curable illness like the flu or pneumonia, medicine prescribed by your doctor can be a lifeline. When taken properly, medications can help you live a longer, healthier life. The tips below will help you gain the greatest benefit from the medicines you need, while helping to stretch your health care dollars. More


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