Five Medication Mistakes
It’s not unusual to be regularly taking one or more prescription medications by the time you reach 55. Even if you don’t take a prescription med, you might be taking over-the-counter meds such as aspirin, Benadryl and Aleve to help with your pain, allergies and sleeping.
Whether you’re taking prescription meds or over-the-counter, it’s important that you understand the kinds of mistakes you could be making and how they might impact your health and wellness.
Mistake #1: Thinking more is better
Whether you missed a dose and want to make up for it by doubling up or you feel worse than usual and want to take a higher dose of medication to make yourself feel better, you’re headed into dangerous territory. All medications have safe limits for use and doubling up your dosage can hurt your kidneys, liver and other vital organs. Never take more than a recommended dose; for prescription meds, when you miss a dose, ask your doctor the proper way to make up for it.
Mistake #2: Skipping doses
Forgetting to take your meds is something that happens occasionally. Missing doses on purpose, either because you’re feeling better or because you want a break from the medication’s side effects, could undermine your health and lead to huge medical setbacks. Even if you’re feeling better, it doesn’t mean the problem is sorted out. Follow your prescription medication instructions fully or call your doctor if you think you should stop the meds. When side effects of certain medications become too much to handle, talk to your doctor about making a change—don’t try to do that on your own.
Mistake #3: Not sharing all meds with all doctors
If you see multiple doctors for specialty care as well as a GP, then you need to make sure all of your doctors know about the medications prescribed by the others. Various drugs can have dangerous interactions that can only be prevented when each of your physicians is aware of what you’re taking.
Mistake #4: Not understanding what your meds are for
This is a mistake I see all too often when clients are filling out a life insurance application. They list their medications but don’t have any idea what those medications are actually treating. Pharmaceuticals are complex and no one expects every patient to fully understand the nuances of each med, but it’s extremely important that you at least have a general sense of what each medication is treating. Knowing what your doctor is treating you for will help you make better informed decisions about your health and can impact other decisions you make about your eating, exercise and travel plans.
Your body is the one asset you can’t replace. Treating it well means more than just exercising and eating right; it means paying attention to your medications and dosages and following each medication’s best practices every day.