Taking Medications at Home

 

A man was awakened by a toothache in the middle of the night. Without turning on the lights, he pulled out and applied what he thought was a spray of pain reliever for his toothache. Afterwards, he did not rinse his mouth. In the daylight of the morning, he realized he had actually used Lamisil AT Pump Spray in his mouth.

One of the most common causes of poisoning among seniors is accidental medication overdose. Statistics show that while adults over 65 years of age represent only 13 percent of the total population, they consume more than 30 percent of all prescribed medications and 40 percent of all over-the-counter medications.

My elderly mother has a hard time swallowing her medicine. Can I just crush her pills and mix them into her food? Or can she chew them? That depends on what she is taking. Some medicines are specially prepared to deliver the medicine to your body slowly, over time.

Many medicines come in different strengths. For example, a medicine may come in both a 10 mg and a 20 mg tablet. Surprisingly, the higher dose often costs about the same as the lower dose. If the medicine is too expensive for some people, doctors may prescribe the higher dose and direct them to take half a tablet for each dose. However, splitting tablets may be risky for several reasons.

Are you taking charge of your medicines? If not, you can be putting your health at risk. Proper medication administration is a three tier effort that includes your physician, your pharmacist and yourself. Knowing about the drugs you take today can save you a lot of grief tomorrow.

Some medicines come as a nasal spray. While a spray in each nostril is the typical way to take a single dose, there are some exceptions. Some medicines are meant to be given as a single spray into one nostril for each dose. One prime example is calcitonin salmon (Fortical or Micalcin), a medicine used to treat women with osteoporosis (bone thinning) after menopause.

An elderly woman developed diarrhea after taking antibiotics for an infection. Her doctor suggested eating yogurt, but she didn't like the taste. Her doctor then gave her a prescription for Lactinex (Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bulgaricus). He told her to get this at a health food store. Lactinex is a harmless dried bacteria used to replace bad bacteria in the digestive tract that cause diarrhea.

Your pharmacy may provide you with some prescription medicines still in their original boxes. These include ointments and creams, asthma inhalers, certain eye and ear drops, and even pills. Your pharmacist may then place a label with directions for taking or using this medicine on the outside box, not on the medicine container inside.

Many people with type 2 diabetes take more than one insulin product--a long-acting insulin and a short-acting insulin. These people should not store their insulin vials inside the original cardboard boxes after the products have been opened. If the vials are accidentally returned to the wrong box after being used, the wrong type of insulin may be taken. This could lead to a serious medical emergency.

Plants are a common cause of poisoning. Both indoor and outdoor plants can be poisonous. Some plants can cause a skin rash, others can cause an upset stomach if ingested and still others can cause more serious problems by harming your heart, kidneys or other organs. Below is a partial list of indoor and outdoor plants that are considered poisonous.

Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

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