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Handbook for successful ageing - 9.2


9.2 Manage your medication correctly!

As a rule, drugs sold only on prescription also have undesired side-effects. It is mandatory for manufacturers of drugs to specify all the known side-effects, be it rare, in the instruction leaflet. You should be aware of the side-effects so that on occurrence of these side-effects, you do not assume that you are suffering from a new ailment. You could perhaps change the drug. Discuss that with your doctor. Do not count on the fact that he will communicate to you all the essential information in advance. For that to occur, the number of possible side-effects are often too many. If side-effects occur which are not listed in the instruction leaflet, please inform your doctor. Do not stop taking the drugs due to the side-effects without consulting your doctor. Otherwise, if the recovery fails to appear, he might think that his diagnosis was wrong.

Please read the instruction leaflet for information about the dosage. If this varies from the one suggested by your doctor, enquire in advance. The quantity of drugs is, as a rule, measured according to the weight of the patient weighing 70 kg. If your weight differs strongly from this, the quantity can be correspondingly greater or smaller. If you are an elderly person, a different dose can likewise apply. Ask your doctor or your chemist if you are worried about it. Ensure that you take the drug at the precise time mentioned in the prescription. Purchase a few weekly dossiers, which you can fill during the course of the week. If you find that difficult, request your chemist to do it for you. You then only need to add the medicine you bought somewhere else, or dietary supplements. If you have problems breaking pills, buy a pill-splitter in a pharmacy.

Finally, you require the instruction leaflet. Since the ability to drive or work on machines can be affected on taking several drugs, the effect of one can be increased or decreased by the other. Further, you should not take certain drugs if you suffer from another ailment. Dangerous interactions or to the loss of effect between the active substances of certain drugs as well as with drinks, food and dietary supplements can also appear. This also applies to pain relievers that can be purchased over the counter. Here you have to be very careful, as interactions and side effects are supposed to lead to death in many cases; according to a source, they are the fifth most common cause of death.

If you are not confident about evaluating the instruction leaflet correctly, please inform you about it at Search for a similar site whether such opportunities are available where you live.

According to your instruction leaflet, certain drugs can attack your mucous membrane in the stomach. If you experience this side-effect, request your doctor to either additionally prescribe a drug with the agent Pantoprazol. Or, instead of prescribing drugs to attack the mucus membrane, ask for a gastric juice-resistent version.

There are drugs with severe side-effects, which, however, you will have to endure first. Keep yourselves informed about the development of new drugs with reduced side-effects by reading about them on the Internet and talk to your doctor about it.

If you have been given antibiotics you should handle them carefully. It is assumed that bacterias only need 5-10 years to become resistant against one, and the more patients take it in, the bigger is the risk of this. If possible, don’t contribute to this reduction in the effectiveness. If your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, ask if it is only for reasons of precaution or if you really need it. On the other hand, if you have been given an antibiotic, don’t stop taking it once you feel better, but keep taking it for as long as you have been told to take it, since otherwise you contribute to the development of a resistance all the same. If you are taking an antibiotic and you don’t see a considerable improvement after three days you should see your doctor again, because in this case you either don’t suffer from a bacterial infection, as prognosticated by your doctor, or the bacteria you have are already resistant against the antibiotic you have been prescribed.

You should instantly dispose of an antibiotic that you no longer require, instead of taking it for another ailment, since another compound might be essential to treat this ailment. To restore the intestinal flora which may have been damaged by the antibiotics, you can take a preparation from the pharmacy afterwards.

Beware of taking a drug when suggested by a layman and not a doctor, for that is very risky.

Elderly people still often think that they should take as little pain killers as possible, and end up bearing more pain. This is, however, dangerous. By suffering pain for longer periods, a "memory of the pain" can come to existence, which makes them experience pain when the cause of the pain has long since been rectified. Further, a continuous pain in your joints can restrict movement to an extent that you initially become stiff, then the cartilage substance disappears from the joints. Ensure that you take the drugs prescribed for you, be, however, cautious with over-the-counter pain killers. If the pain doesn’t get better within three days, you should see your doctor. You should see your doctor immediately if you suffer from back pain and experience signs of paralysis or numbness in your arms, hands or legs, if you experience urinary or fecal incontinence and also when you have pain in your chest.

If you suffer from back pain, you do not need care but exercise to relax the muscles, to make sure the intervertebral discs are supplied with blood and thereby supplied with nutrients. However, sleeping on the back and putting a heating pack on the aching part, may do you well.

On the other hand, take care not to become dependent on drugs by buying over-the-counter pain killers or sleeping pills and taking them for periods longer than those recommended in the instruction leaflet, or press your doctor to prescribe additional drugs. In case of chronic pain, consult a pain therapist. In case of insomnia, consult a sleep therapist.

If you have difficulties going to a chemist, request for the drugs to be delivered home and have the prescription collected. If you require to pay for the drugs yourself, give your chemist a payment by direct debit instruction.

You may want to buy the over-the-counter drugs, at a dispatch chemist's. You can search for the pharmacy that makes available the largest percentage of discount in price.

If you have difficulty swallowing capsules, role them on your tongue backward and forward, so that it can be made easily slidable by the saliva and send them on the way to the esophagus. Only then should you drink sufficient water. You can thus avoid swallowing them wrongly. Bite into them if necessary, if your chemist thinks it is harmless.

If you require advice from your chemist, you can get it over phone. If you wish to buy a drug discretely, write the name of that drug on a sheet of paper and pass it to the chemist over the counter.

Look after your medicine cabinet! It could include:

-a basic equipment including dressing material, sterile compresses, plasters and first-aid kits for burns for smaller injuries;

- one to two elastic bandages for sprains;

- cold packs for insect stings and sprains;

- bandage scissors

- tweezers, a clinical thermometer, disposable gloves and a pair of tick-pliers;

- medicine for pain and fever relief;

- medicine against cough, cold and sore throat

- a tincture for gargling;

- a mild valerian sedative.

At the beginning of the year you should check if a medicine has expired in the meantime, in order to get a new one. Store medicine in a place where children cannot reach it, do not put it on the window-sill in the sun and do not leave it in the car in the summer. Pay attention to possible storage instructions on the instruction leaflet.





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