The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused a great many problems this year, but it has also made many of us hyper-aware of things we should always consider, anyway. One of the most important concerns that have come into focus during the pandemic is the concept of ensuring medication safety.
Why Is This a Concern?
Let’s be clear; staying healthy is always extremely important to healthcare specialists, but it should also be important to you. During a pandemic, it pays to be extra careful, since new medications and other treatments are always being introduced, which could mean greater medical danger, if not handled properly.
The potential for medical danger can come in many forms, including adverse drug events, which already come to as many as 150,000 deaths and 1.3 million emergency room visits annually in the U.S., leading to as many as 350,000 hospitalizations a year, even before the arrival of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
The Experts Have Come Up With a Plan
Even though 80 percent of all adults in the U.S. will use a mix of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) meds, as well as an assortment of supplements in a given week, and as many as one-third of Americans will take as many as five different medications at the same time, it is obvious that it is always possible to prevent injuries and illnesses.
One of the key methods for preventing medication errors and injuries is by implementing a solid plan for everyone. These are some of the strategies contained in any such plan:
Always Keep a List if All Medications and Update it Continuously Make sure you ask your doctors for all of the medications you are taking, whether they are prescription or OTC, to serve as a medication profile, and then make sure he keeps it up to date.
Make sure this medication profile includes information on why you take each one, as well as what time of day you take it. Make sure you always have access to this profile; a lot f people keep it on their phone. This way you will always have access to it in an emergency.
Make Sure Your Pharmacist Knows What You Are Taking
As soon as you have your profile, make an appointment with your pharmacist, so that they can review everything you are taking, including prescription and OTC meds, plus herbal and dietary supplements, as well as recreational drugs.
Doing this will provide an overall picture of everything you’re putting in your body. Ask a lot of questions and try to understand why you are taking each medication. Getting all f this information will provide a holistic review of everything you are taking, so everyone can evaluate that and help you manage medications more efficiently and safely.
Inquire as to Whether a “Pharmacogenomic” Test Might Be Useful
A “Pharmacogenomic Test” identifies your personal genetic make-up and determines whether the medications you take will negatively interact with each other in your body. This can often be useful, especially if you take a lot of meds, especially if you suffer from a chronic illness.
A pharmacist with this data has a better chance of determining whether or not your medications are doing good for you, or if you may be at risk for negative drug interactions.
The more you know, the more you can competently address before problems develop.
Learn The Risks That Come with Each New Medication
No matter your diagnosis, always speak to a pharmacist before taking a new medication. At the very least, you’ll know whether to expect any adverse drug events, but it will also help you understand how the new medication may interact with others you may be taking and whether negative health consequences may be possible.
This is how you find out how and when to take your medications safely and to make sure they continue to make you healthy and minimize the risk of poor health consequences.