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10 Rules for Safer Drug USe

Posted Oct 03 2008 11:31am
I'll continue with the series of rules, to 'educate' the readers on healthcare. This time, 10 rules for safer drug use:

#1: Discuss with your primary doctor, about all the drugs that you are taking
The purpose of the discussion is for you and your doctor to keep an ongoing record of all drugs you are using, the purposes for which they are being used, adverse reactions, whether the drug is working, and other information essential to the safest and most effective use of these products. It will be better if you also tell you doctor the over-the-counter (OTC) products that you are taking.

#2: Make Sure Drug Therapy is really Needed
Whenever possible, lifestyle modification is best to be tried out before carried on to drug therapy. Some psychological problems, are best to be deal with psychotherapy.

#3:If Drug Therapy is Indicated, in most cases, especially in Older Adults, it is Safer to Start with a Dose that is Lower than the Usual Adult Dose
Start low, go slow. A lower dose will cause fewer adverse effects, which are almost always related to dose. Increasing the dose slowly and only if necessary to get the desired effect.

#4: When Adding a New Drug, See if It Is Possible to Discontinue Another Drug
If your doctor is considering adding a new drug, this is an opportunity to re-evaluate existing drugs and eliminate those that are not absolutely essential. The possibility of an adverse drug interaction between the new drug and one of the old ones may lead to discontinuing or changing the use of a drug.

#5: Stopping a Drug is as Important as Starting It
At least every 3 to 6 months, regularly review with your doctor the need to continue each drug being taken. For many mind-affecting drugs, such as sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and antidepressants, and for antibiotics, this re-evaluation should be more frequent and sooner. Many adverse drug reactions have been caused by continuing to use drugs long after they are needed. Many drugs such as antidepressants, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and others that are prescribed for an acute problem are not needed beyond a short period and cause risks without providing benefits. Slow and careful weaning off these drugs may significantly improve the user’s health.

#6:Find Out if You are Having any Adverse Drug Reactions
If you develop any side effects after beginning to use any drug, contact your doctor, immediately!

#7: Assume that any New Symptom You Develop after Starting a New Drug may be caused by the Drug
Same with rule #6, contact your doctor if you have a new symptom.


#8: Before Leaving Your Doctor’s Office or Pharmacy, Make Sure the Instructions for Taking Your Medicine are Clear to You and a Family Member or Friend
Do not afraid to look stupid. It is important you are understanding about the drugs you are taking.

#9: Discard all Old Drugs Carefully
Do not, ever, give drugs, such as antibiotics, to a friend or relative who you believe may benefit from them. Drug therapy is individualized, and the drugs that are benefit you might harm your friend or relative. Keeping the drugs in safe place, or discard the old drugs carefully can also prevent children from getting them. It is dangerous to let children get access of them, as they might take it like candy.

#10:Ask Your Primary Doctor to Coordinate Your Care and Drug Use
If you see a specialist and he or she wants to start you on new medicines in addition to the ones you are on, check with your primary doctor first. It is equally important to use one pharmacist, if possible.
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