Living Your Life With Fewer Medication-Related Problems

Do you feel like your medication therapy is making your life harder? Here are three things that you can do to increase your quality of life and to live with fewer medication-related problems.
1. Take charge of your medication therapy. You may be thinking, “How do I take charge of my medication therapy? I thought it was the doctor’s job to do this?” It is the doctor’s job to diagnose and to prescribe appropriate therapy to treat diseases or health conditions. However, it is your responsibility to gain understanding about your medications (e.g. ask your doctor or pharmacist questions), to know what they are used for, to take note of possible side effects (e.g. drowsiness), and to report problems to your doctor. Also, maintaining an accurate and up to date list of all the prescription/non-prescription medications (including doses and directions) you use is a very important part of taking charge of your medication therapy. Show this list to all your healthcare providers. This will enable them to check for interactions and to prevent duplication of therapy (e.g. similar medications prescribed by different doctors). Use your list as a communication tool when talking to your doctor or pharmacist. For instance, when your doctor prescribes a new medication, show him/her your list and ask whether the new medication replaces any on the list.
2. Make lifestyle changes. This will help prevent and reduce medication-related problems you experience in life. You can start with simple changes like cutting soda (pop) out of your diet. Establish a plan and set goals for yourself. For instance, you can plan to walk for 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Discuss your exercise plans with your doctor before beginning.
3. Get an annual “medication checkup.” Most pharmacists and physicians are too busy to take an in-depth look at your therapy. However, a consultant pharmacist can take the time necessary to perform a thorough analysis (“medication checkup”), including reviewing your therapy in comparison with current medical guidelines, investigating health challenges that may be related to interactions or side effects, checking for ways to save you money, and recommending changes to your therapy that you can discuss with your doctor.
I have only briefly touched on three important ways to prevent and reduce medication-related problems. Please subscribe to receive future articles that will provide more related information and additional topics (e.g. Are your medications making you tired?).
Thank you,
Quinn Cannon, PharmD, RPh
Consultant Pharmacist
Owner of Vita Viv, LLC

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