October: Talk about your prescriptions month

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October is "Talk About Your Prescriptions" Month.  We are going to kick it off with some facts about prescription medications!  Did you know that over 2/3 of all doctors' visits end with a prescription being written, making medicines the most common form of intervention (National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, National Center for Health Statistics, 2001).

Additionally, since the use of prescription medicines, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and/or herbal supplements, has become an increasingly important part of quality medical care, the subject of medication management and safety is important.

The Facts About Prescription Medicine

1. A product is a medicine or drug if it:
o Changes the way your body works OR
o Treats or prevents a disease

2. Types of medicines include:
o Prescription medicines, such as blood pressure medicines, antibiotics, or birth control pills
o Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs are medicines you can buy without a prescription, including aspirin, antacids, laxatives, and cough medicine.

3. Always store medication where children & animals cannot get to
o Some medications can look like candy to children, talk to them & let them know it is not candy & that it is not okay to eat.
o Keep medications in a high area, out of reach of children or animals
o If you have a person in the household that has a past with abusing narcotics or medications, make sure to keep them in a safe or locked area.

*Generic vs. Brand
A generic drug (called by its chemical name) has the SAME ACTIVE INGREDIENTS as the brand name. Generic medications work the same way in your body.  A generic medication is a duplicate of the brand name drug in dosage, safety, strength, how it is taken, quality, performance and intended use.

*Allergic reactions occur when your body's defense system reacts in a bad way to a medicine. These might include:
· Hives, itching or a rash
· Narrowing of the throat, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
· You need to know and watch for any of these allergic reactions- allergic reactions can be deadly

*Side effects are undesired effects of a medicine that can occur even though the medicine is being taken correctly at the recommended dose. These might include:
· Headache, dizziness, or an upset stomach, which are common side effects
· Liver failure, which is a very rare side effect.

"Talk before you take" is a new National awareness campaign to encourage and improve communications between healthcare providers and patients about the benefits and potential risks for prescription medicine.  By taking the time to ask questions now, you may be preventing problems later.  Don't be afraid to ask your healthcare provider questions or review information that is not clear to you. Find out as much as you can about the medications, including dietary supplements and over the counter medications that you take. Your pharmacist can help answer a lot of these questions too.

To learn more about prescriptions ask your doctor or pharmacist & look at the websites below: