Different medicines are used to treat a variety of illnesses, so it’s important to know when you’re taking the right kind. For example, you wouldn’t take an anti-allergy for back pain, or cough syrup for an upset stomach.
With over half of the country taking some sort of prescribed medication, it’s important that everyone is aware of how to safely use these medicines. In this blog, you’ll learn how to take medication safely, why a doctor needs to authorize prescriptions and what the risks of sharing prescription medication can be.
How to Take Medications Safely
When taking a prescription medication, always be sure to follow the instructions of your doctor as well as the instructions on the medicine container. This means following the correct dosage at the time it is prescribed to be taken. If you experience any unexpected side effects, it’s best to always call your doctor right away. By closely following your doctor’s orders, you’ll generally be safe when taking medication.
How do Doctors Prescribe Medication?
The first step in prescribing medication is always a one-on-one conversation with your doctor. When you talk with your doctor about your symptoms, they will use that information to determine any tests you should complete to give them a full picture of your condition. Using the test results combined with your own personal medical history, your doctor will prescribe the best medication for your problem.
During that conversation, don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have about taking your new medication. By the time you leave the appointment, you should know the name and purpose for taking your medication, as well as when to take it, how to take it and what kind of side effects you could expect.
Prescription medications require a doctor’s approval because these are typically stronger medications that have the potential to bring harm if used incorrectly. So it’s important to speak with your doctor about any current medications or substances you may be taking that could potentially cause a harmful reaction. When your doctor asks you these questions, answer truthfully to ensure they have all the information they need to make the right decision for your health.
Are Opioid Medications Dangerous?
Opioids are some of the most commonly prescribed pain medications for the treatment of severe pain. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most dangerous. Pain medications such as opioids affect the central nervous system, which means taking a strong opioid can lead to slowed heart rate, organ failure and in some cases, death.
In 2018, the Trump administration officially declared a state of emergency over the overwhelming amount of opioid overdoses throughout the country. Despite expanded funding for fighting this problem, more than 35 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortalities since the beginning of COVID-19 related lockdowns, likely due to increased isolation and stress.
This is why it’s more important than ever for those with prescription opioid medications to make sure that they don’t abuse, share, or sell their medication. Unsupervised opioid pills can be incredibly dangerous for young adults and children. Even with adults, there’s no telling how severely the body will react to a high dosage pain medication that hasn’t been prescribed by a doctor.
The Dangers of Sharing Medication
Opioids aren’t the only dangerous medication out there. Some of the most commonly shared drugs, including other pain medications, allergy medications and antibiotics, all have negative and serious side effects.
Harmful Side Effects
For example, the effects of allergy medications differ from person to person. Some allergy medications create strong drowsy effects that could impair a person’s motor skills and cause them to have an accident while driving. Using someone else’s antibiotic medication can also result in bacteria and viruses growing stronger instead of being properly treated.
Taking the correct dosage is the key to making medicine work. If you share a medication, you run the risk of starting off at a higher dosage than is needed to solve the problem. This raises the risk of negative side effects. Doctors prescribe medication based on your health, weight and medical history, so you will never know how someone else will react then taking the dosage that was determined specifically for you.
Breaking the Law
Sharing prescription medication is also illegal. In Arizona, anyone who breaks this law can be fined up to $1,000. If you are caught selling medication, you can be charged with a felony, which carries more serious consequences. This kind of felony can mean you owe 240+ hours of community service and must complete regular drug testing.
In these uncertain times, we ask that you contact a Valleywise Health practitioner before attempting to share any kind of prescribed medication. If you book an appointment, our friendly primary care physicians can diagnose your illness and prescribe the right medication for you.