Measuring prescription medication for your child

Nearly all small children are prescribed liquid medication until they are old enough to swallow capsules. As a result, it’s important that adults be informed about the proper way to dispense the medication and protect their children’s health. According to the FDA, some of the most common types of dosing instruments include:

Dosage cups: These cups are designed for children who are old enough to drink from a cup without spilling. Adults should be sure to look carefully at the small numbers printed on the side of the cup to determine the correct fill level. Medicine should then be poured to that exact level when the cup is sitting on a flat surface.
Droppers: These are geared toward children who cannot drink from a cup, and require the adult to squeeze the proper amount of medication into the child’s mouth. Like the dosage cups, medicine must be brought to the exact line on the side of the dropper that was recommended by a doctor. Adults should squeeze the liquid quickly out of the dropper so it cannot fall on the floor before it gets into the child’s mouth.
Cylindrical dosage spoons: These spoons look like a large straw with a spoon at one end and are used for children who can drink from a cup, but are likely to spill. In this case, adults should again fill the liquid to the appropriate marked line and be sure it is even at eye level. Children then drink the medicine from the spoon.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your child’s prescription medication. It’s important to be educated so you can protect the health of your young child.

This prescription can cause what?

Television commercials for prescription drugs today are filled with disclaimers about the risks of side effects. All drugs – even aspirin – have side effects, but they range from minor and slightly irritating to very serious. According to pharmacist Jim Morelli, the most common side effects of medication involve the gastrointestinal system (such as upset stomachs). Fortunately, the FDA must approve all new drugs released on the market to protect consumers and weigh the benefits vs. risks of each medication. However, many side effects are not known until after the product has been released. Because of this, the FDA recently mandated that all dispensed prescriptions (as well as many over-the-counter medications) must be labeled with a toll-free number. This number gives anyone the opportunity to report adverse effects they experience from taking the medication.

The risk of side effects alone should not discourage people from taking medicine that is necessary for their health, so talk to your True Dental Discounts doctor or pharmacist about any potential effects of prescriptions you’ve been taking. He or she can explain the benefits vs. risks of each drug and show you how to prevent certain irritating symptoms such as dry mouth. If you do happen to notice adverse effects from your prescriptions, it is important to tell your doctor because he or she can help you find a different prescription that works best for your body and your overall health.

Listing your medications

One of the smartest things a person can do in regard to their prescription health is to make a list of all the medications, dietary supplements and vitamins that they take, according to the FDA. This list should include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Then, take this list with you to all of your doctor’s appointments. Doctors will be able to check the list before prescribing another medication that could possibly conflict with one you are already taking or that has the same active ingredient. Update this list every time you add or stop taking another medicine, including herbal supplements. The FDA suggests that it’s also a good idea to keep this list on your person at all times, or at least tell your emergency contact where it is in your house.

This way, in case of an emergency, doctors and medical personnel will be able to immediately know what medicines you are taking. One final tip is to do a “brown bag checkup.” This involves putting all of your prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in a bag to show to your doctor at your next appointment. He or she can check the bag to ensure your medicines work together safely and effectively. If you need help keeping track of your current medications, the FDA offers a chart online that will organize and categorize your prescriptions. If you have any questions about your medication or the interactions of your various prescriptions, talk to your doctor. It’s always better to stay informed than be left in the dark when it comes to your prescription health.

Has your prescription expired?

Everyone, at one point or another, has probably considered taking medication that is past its expiration date, but not everyone knows the potential risks posed by old prescriptions. Even if the bottle says it lasts until February and it’s now March, it’s not wise or healthy to continue taking medication once it is expired. For starters, medication loses its effectiveness once it passes its predetermined shelf-life. That means that expired prescriptions may not work as well once they’re expired, and people may be fooled into thinking they can safely go to work or school after having taken the medicine.

They may expect it to “kick in” later, when in reality, it has become too deteriorated to produce the same effect. Secondly, expired medication can actually have serious health implications, depending on their chemical make-up. In some cases, these expired drugs will undergo a change in physical or chemical properties, making them unsafe to continue ingesting. It’s always better to be cautious and get a new prescription than risk taking the old one. In the best interest of your health, be sure to check the printed expiration date before taking any medication. Also, consult with your pharmacist about the proper way to dispose of expired pills so you can keep the environment – as well as your own body – healthy.

Getting informed about your prescription medication

You’ve probably heard how dangerous it can be to take medication without first heeding the instructions on its proper dosage and frequency. But have you considered all of the other information you need before you can safely take any of that prescription? According to the National Council on Patient Information and Education, patients need to ask their doctor or pharmacist several key questions when they are prescribed any type of medication. These questions include:

  • What is the name of the medicine and what is its use?
  • How and when do I take it, and for how long?
  • Are there any foods, medicines or activities I should avoid while taking the medicine?
  • How long does it take for the medicine to work?
  • Are there any side effects? If so, what are they, and what should I do if they occur?
  • Do I need to get a refill? If so, when?
  • What is the proper way to store this medicine?

By asking these types of questions, patients can stay informed about their health while taking prescription medication. As an added benefit, if you use your True Care pharmacy discount card, you’ll be able to maximize your savings at the same time you maximize your safety! It’s just one more way you can receive quality care at affordable prices.