June is National Safety Month, an important topic when it comes to both over-the-counter and prescription medications and supplements. From dosing and compliance to storage and disposal, we offer the following medication safety tips to help protect you and those you love.
Medication Dosing and Compliance Safety
Medications are designed to work a certain way, but in order to do so, they must be taken as directed. This includes taking the correct dose at the correct time, as well as following any other special instructions.
When starting a new medication, review the included information and ask your doctor or pharmacist if anything is unclear. Pay particular attention to these instructions:
- Correct dosing: Not taking the correct dosage can render the medication less effective, or even cause you to build a resistance to treatment.
- Dosing schedule: Some medications can have stimulating effects and are best taken in the morning, and others may cause drowsiness and should be taken before bed. Others need to be taken at the same time every day or regularly throughout the day to maintain a certain level in your system.
- Food cautions. Some medications work most effectively, and with fewer side effects, when taken with food. Others require an empty stomach to be absorbed properly. Still others may require that you avoid specific foods or food groups, like acidic foods, alcohol or dairy products.
- Interaction warnings: Take note of any instructions to avoid combining medications that may lead to dangerous complications or interactions. For example, some prescription pain relievers contain acetaminophen and require that you avoid taking Tylenol or other acetaminophen-containing medications. Read the labels carefully and make sure your provider or pharmacist is aware of all the other medications and supplements you take.
Our MediBubble® may be the perfect solution for compliance and dosing challenges. We deliver monthly pill packs with medications sorted and clearly marked with dosing schedules by daypart. It’s helpful for people with complex medication regimens or those with in-home or assisted living caregivers.
Safe Medication Storage and Disposal
There are a number of safety issues when it comes to the proper storage of medications. Many become less effective when stored in areas that are too hot or humid, such as a bathroom or hot vehicle.
Beyond that, it’s important to keep medications safely stored away from those who should not have access, such as children and pets. In addition to keeping them out of reach, use child-safe caps. Even children’s medications, vitamins and supplements can result in accidental overdoses.
Designed especially for residents in group homes, our monthly Blister Packs feature tamper-resistant, MAP-compliant packaging and are an ideal solution for single-dose medication management.
Safe medication disposal is also important. To safely get rid of expired or unwanted medications, follow these household disposal steps from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
If you have any questions about the medications you are taking, don’t hesitate to ask your health care provider or pharmacist.