Most people who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness are on some type of prescription drug. I’ve been on a drug to remove iron overload from my body since I was eight years old.
As I get older, the more drugs my doctors seem to want me to take. They think it’s important to ward off the possibility of obtaining other chronic conditions in the future.
“Josephine, how about you take this drug for bone growth, this other drug for iron chelation, and this other one to ward off potential diabetes?” I avoid taking precautionary drugs, because I am one of those people who believes that doctors overprescribe.
I also think too many people want a magic bullet (a quick fix) to cure all their problems. Almost everyone these days wants to take medicine to cover up their symptoms, instead of fix the root cause of their problems.
For example, there are people with really stressful jobs who take a prescription drug to fall asleep. They never consider the fact that they could perhaps reduce their caffeine intake and meditate before bed to help slow down their overactive minds and sleep peacefully.
I am someone who prefers to search for holistic solutions before taking medicine. However, I do want to stress that it’s important to listen to a doctor’s concerns and take drugs as prescribed. Especially when dealing with a problem that you’re currently experiencing.
In honor of “National Drug Fact Week,” the American Recall Center (ARC), a company that holds a database of prescription drug recalls and side-effects, asked if I would write a post about prescription medication.
I agreed to do it, because I think the conversation is one that needs discussing. I sent ARC a bunch of questions about prescription drug use that I wanted advice on.
Do you agree with ARC’s responses to my questions? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
JOSEPHINE: Should I take medicine that has been prescribed by a doctor even if I don’t believe it is necessary? Is the doctor always right?
ARC: It is very important to understand yourself and make sure that you have built a relationship with your doctor so that he/she understands what’s best for you. Do your research, read the information provided with the drug, and use your best judgement. Always consult your doctor to make sure you’re being provided with a drug you are comfortable taking.
Josephine: What is the most abused prescription drug?
ARC: In recent studies, 7 million Americans reported use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Among these drugs, depressants, opioids, and stimulants were at the top of the list.
Josephine: What are some precautions people should take when taking prescription drugs?
ARC:Be sure to tell your doctor about every drug that you’re currently taking before receiving your new prescription. Also tell your doctor about your diet and vitamin regimen to see if there are any combinations that might put you at risk of a reaction. When you receive your medication, read the information that your doctor or pharmacist provides with the medication to ensure that you take it properly.
Josephine: People with certain illnesses require chronic use of certain prescription drugs. Does chronic use reduce the effectiveness of the drug after many years of use?
ARC: There are specific situations for every individual. It all depends on the situation and health of the individual, plus where they are in their treatment/lifestyle.
Josephine: What should someone do if they are having a negative side effect from taking a drug?
ARC: Seek proper emergency medical attention. You should understand each drug that you are taking and know what to do if you begin to see an adverse drug reactive. Have a procedure in place and seek medical attention from a trained professional.
Josephine: Can vitamins cause a prescription medicine to have adverse side effects?
ARC: Multivitamins are very important, but everything must be taken in moderation. Make sure you are taking the appropriate dose and speaking with your doctor beforehand. A medical condition or common allergy could alter the dosage, specific to your needs.
Josephine: Where is the best place to store prescription drugs? Fridge? Bathroom medicine cabinet? Kitchen cabinet?
ARC: Oxygen and light are two elements that can be destructive to medication. Do your best to store your medicine in a cool dry place and always make sure they are not in the reach of children or pets.
Josephine: What are the best recommended ways to prevent the need for prescription drugs.
ARC: Prevent the need for prescription drugs by controlling your lifestyle. Exercise regularly, stay at a healthy weight, reduce sodium intake, and limit the amount of alcohol in your diet. If you’re unsure of what is right for you, meet with your doctor to discuss healthy habits you can pick up that will improve your quality of life.
Josephine: A lot of people are avoiding taking drugs due to the rising costs of prescriptions. What are the hazards of doing so?
ARC: Many people are faced with dangerous outcomes by taking drug substitutes or abandoning medicine all together. It’s important to heed the advice of your physician.
Josephine: What are methods people use to remember to take their pills as directed? Especially if they’re supposed to be taken periodically throughout the day.
ARC: There are many new methods in use today! Try using a standard Mon-Sun pill case, a day planner, or apps for your smartphone.
Josephine: Are there any good tips to get children to take their prescription medicine if they refuse?
ARC: There are many different approaches to get children to take their medicine if they refuse. First, you should give your child control. For kids who are old enough to understand, explain why they need to take their medicine and how it will help them. For those who are a little younger, let your child practice administering medicine to a doll or a stuffed animal. If a child is fussy, you could try to add medicine to their food. In most cases, it’s safe to crush a pill or open a capsule and disguise the medicine in their favorite treat. Make sure to always consult with your doctor before doing this. Lastly, you could try a rewards system. In addition to verbal praise, try rewarding kids with a sticker every time they take their medicine. Keep track of these stickers so your child can follow their progress visually.
Please share this article with anyone you know who currently taking a prescription drug. They’ll probably find it useful.
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