Nurses’ Notes – Practical, Helpful Tips for Caregivers
Tips for Taking Medications Safely and Effectively
- Review all your medications regularly with your family physician to see if any can be reduced, discontinued or alternatives suggested. Make sure your family doctor is aware of all your allergies especially drug and food allergies.
- Tell all your doctors and your pharmacist about all of the medications you are taking e.g. prescriptions, over the counter (OTC), herbal, food supplements (Ensure), alcohol daily/weekly.
- When starting a new medication, make sure you know and understand from your doctor and pharmacist:
- The name of the medication
- The reason why you require this medication
- How and when it is taken
- Potential side effects and how to contact the family doctor if any side effects are evident.
- Foods and drugs that should be avoided when taking certain medications to prevent negative interactions
- Keep all medications in one location that is cool and dry. Avoid storing in the bathroom where there is increased humidity due to showers and baths.
- Plan ahead for medication refills or repeats. Usually order a 30 day supply to ensure there is always adequate medication on hand.
- If you have multiple prescriptions, it can be very helpful to use dosettes to pre-sort medications weekly or you can ask your pharmacist to arrange for weekly blister packing.
- Try to remain with one family physician and one pharmacist who will have all your present and past medication records.