Taking medications safely

People age 65 and older take more prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines than any other age group and tend to have more long-term, chronic illnesses. If your doctor prescribes a medication for your condition, make sure you find out as much about it as you can and that you learn to take it properly. Ask the following questions and write down the answers before leaving the doctor's office. What is the name of the medicine and why am I taking it? What is the name of the condition this medicine will treat? How long will it take to work? How should I store the medication? Does it need to be refrigerated? Can the pharmacist substitute a less expensive, generic form of the medicine? Questions to ask about taking medicine: When should I take it? As needed, or on a schedule? Before, with, or between meals? At bedtime? How often should I take it? How long will I have to take it? What side effects might I expect? Should I report them? If I forget to take it, what should I do? Can this medicine interact with other prescription and over-the-counter medicines which I am taking now? Helpful hints for taking medicines: Read and save any written information that comes with the medicine. Take the medicine according to the schedule on the label. Don't take more or less than the prescribed amount of any medicine. Do not break, crush, or chew tablets without asking a health professional first. Never break, crush, or chew a capsule. Do not hesitate to ask questions when you don't know the meaning of a word, or when instructions aren't clear. The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620.

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