If Prescriptions Could Talk

Have you ever wondered what your pills may say if they could talk? They would probably have a lot more to say than you may be aware. There are several important notes you should be taking as you fill up your medicine cabinet. The following bullet points are intended to help you better prepare for that next trip to the local drug store.

o Natural does not always mean safe. While arsenic is derived from nature, I highly doubt you would run to your local vitamin wholesaler to purchase a bottle. Remember this next time you make a purchase decision on herbal-type products. Ask your pharmacist or physician first.

o More is not always better. In fact, it's seldom better and, more often than not, harmful. After a few tablets of Tylenol and little relief from a headache, one may make that potentially incorrect decision to take more. However, what is not well-known is that high doses of Tylenol can affect the liver and cause damage. In addition, those extra few tablets, while potentially harmful, will not likely be any more effective.

o To expire or not? Expiration dates on prescription and over-the counter bottles are to be taken seriously. This is your best indicator that the medication is no longer effective and may be unsafe to use. While the downside to taking an expired medication may simply be lack of effect, there are medications that can actually cause serious harm past their expiration date. Therefore, when spring-cleaning your home, do not forget your medicine cabinet.

o Pill boxes or pill bottles? While pill boxes are useful tools to help people remember their medication, they should not be used for all medications at all times. Some medications are controlled by the DEA and these should always remain in their original pharmacy bottles for several reasons. When traveling, it is imperative to have any controlled prescriptions in a bottle that clearly identifies the owner. If permissions find loose controlled substances without prescription identification, trouble may ensue. In addition, some medications lose their potency if transferred from the original bottle, such as nitroglycerin.

Always remember – the only stupid question is the one not asked. So use the resources available to you and ask your pharmacist or physician with any questions.

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