As part of the seventh annual Be Medicinewise Week (21-27 August), our HSS Pharmacist takes a look at what it really means to be ‘medicine wise’ in your everyday life.
“Medicinewise Week is an excellent initiative promoting the safe and wise use of medicines,” she explained. “This year the campaign is reminding Australians that medicine misuse can happen to anyone.
“Our main advice to everyone when dealing with medication is – ask the right questions, ask the right people and follow the right advice.”
Often people are unaware they are misusing medicine. Basically, not taking medicines as directed is misusing them. It can be easy to misuse medicine if you aren’t properly informed and don’t take the proper precautions.
Four Common Types of Medicine Misuse
- Taking medicines at the wrong time, or the wrong dose
- Taking medicines in unsafe ways such as opening pills or cutting patches
- Sharing medicines with family or friends
- Taking multiple medicines which could lead to incorrect dosing or side effects
- Taking medicines with other substances like illegal drugs or alcohol
Know what you are taking…
“It’s crucial people have a good understanding of what medications they are on,” our HSS Pharmacist outlined. “They need to know what the medication is called and what it is used for.
“They also need to be aware of any interactions it may have with other substances including vitamins and other supplements.
“One of the most alarming problems on the rise is people buying supplements from unreliable places and taking them with their prescribed medications.
“Often supplements bought on the internet, or from overseas, will not have a complete list of ingredients. People really are playing Russian Roulette with their health using these products!”
Take responsibility for your healthcare…
It is your responsibility to understand and educate yourself on what medicines you have. An important step is reading all labels and packaging carefully.
It is vital you follow all dosing instructions and get some real advice if you are unsure about anything. Ask your local pharmacist, nurse or your doctor.
“Be proactive with your medications,” our Pharmacist stressed. “You need to be in charge of your medications, don’t let your medications be in charge of you!”