Talk About Prescriptions Month (October)

October is National "Talk About Prescriptions" month (TAP Month). According to the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE), the best way to use medication safely and appropriately is to be well-informed with good reliable information and to be willing to ask questions of your health care professional about your medicines (prescription or over-the-counter). Questions should include instructions for use, precautions, and side effects, especially whenever a new medicine is prescribed. Make sure you share information with your doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health care professionals about other prescription and OTC medicines you are taking. Be sure to include dietary supplements, herbal remedies and vitamins too. To help you stay current and accurate about your own medications or medications for someone whom you are a caregiver, create a current list of all the medicines, including prescription and OTC medicines. Carry this list with you and/or give a copy to a friend or family member in case of an emergency. Show the list to your healthcare providers at every visit. It is important to read all written information that comes with the medicine, as well as save it for future reference.

NCPIE addresses six important questions to ask your health care professional in their "Educate Before You Medicate" campaign.

  1. What is the name of the medicine and what is it supposed to do? Is this the brand or generic name?
  2. How and when do I take it – and for how long?
  3. What foods, drinks, other medicines or activities should I avoid while taking this medication?
  4. What are the possible side effects, and what do I do if they occur?
  5. Will this new prescription work safely with the other prescription and nonprescription medicines I am taking?
  6. Is there any written information available in large print, or in a language other than English?

The NCPIE is also launching the campaign: "Be Medicine Smart", to improve medication adherence. Many people have multiple chronic conditions, so they have more medications to take. Adhering to a medication plan can be challenging, but can be done.Information in this article was obtained from the NCPIE website. Many more resources are available for consumers and health care providers at http://www.bemedwise.org/

Information provided by Dana H. Breeding, RN Health Educator from Community Wellness, at Augusta Health. To contact her related to the above information, please call 332-4988 or 932-4988.