Mayor's Office of Employee Assistance
Medication Dos and Don'ts
When doctors prescribe medication, they take into account a person’s illness, overall condition, weight, the chemicals in the medication, the proper dosage and any possible side effects. Therefore, make sure, when you are caring for a person, that medication is taken exactly how and when a doctor instructs. Any deviation can be dangerous.
The following are some general guidelines for overseeing someone’s medication usage. Remember: if you have any questions at all, always ask a doctor or pharmacist.
Only give medication that has been prescribed.
Follow the prescription instructions exactly—including dosage and schedule.
Tell the doctor about any other drugs (including over-the-counter drugs) the patient is taking.
Ask the doctor about possible side effects, about drug or food interactions, and whether or not the medication should be taken with meals or during the night.
Buy all medication from the same pharmacy or drug store; this way, possible drug interactions with previously prescribed drugs can be considered.
Follow the full course of drug treatment; do not stop giving the medication until the treatment is over. Some medications must be taken regularly for the rest of the patient’s life.
Keep an eye out for side effects—including sleeplessness or sleepiness, depression, confusion, irritability, headaches or nausea.
Use a pill reminder box and/or a daily medicine chart to keep track of multiple medications, dosages and schedules.
Check with the doctor periodically to see if the medication can be stopped or cut back.
Don’t change the form of a medication (i.e., crushing a pill or mixing one with water) unless you ask the doctor or pharmacist. Changing the form of a medication can change how it works or its effectiveness.
Don’t move medicines from the original pill bottle to another.
Don’t stop giving a medication, even if the person begins to feel better; finish the entire course of treatment as prescribed by doctor.
Don’t assume that your care recipient is taking medications properly; discuss medications, dosages, schedules and side effects with them on a regular basis, and communicate directly with the person’s doctor, if needed.
Don’t try to second-guess a doctor about the medication a patient does or does not need; always discuss problems or questions with the doctor.
Do store medications in a cool, dry, dark
place, away from children.
Don’t give medications meant for one person
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