We get medication when we have medical problems either from clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals. But what should we know about medications?
Understanding our medical condition as far as we can is the most important step to getting the other details as time goes on. For instance, is my skin wound a temporary issue or possibly a recurrent problem? Skin wounds due to trauma are one-time conditions but skin wounds due to diabetes and chronic venous insufficiency can be chronic. When we get the gist of our medical profile, we can obtain the details anytime from healthcare personnel. Ask these questions one by one to yourself and get them answered by doctors or pharmacists.
Follow these steps.
- What medication and for what
For example, omeprazole in gastric disorders. This drug is used to reduce gastric acid secretion in peptic ulcers and Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The dosage and brand of drugs are switched based on the availability of the facility and your condition. The children tend to need a lower dosage compared to adult patients.
- How and when to take, how long
The different forms of drugs can affect the way you consume the drug. Patients with chronic disorders will encounter this issue often. For instance, patients with constipation problems may get oral and suppository medication. Bisacodyl is available in the market in oral and suppository forms.
Timing to take medication is an important aspect to take note of for the optimum effect of the drugs. The most common question is, before or after food? As food can influence the efficacy rate of drugs in several ways, the best thing to do is ask and clear your doubts before initiating the treatment. Long or short-acting drugs have different duration of action and cause different frequencies of intake per day. For example, the short-acting statin is best to take in the evening due to its short half-life of action while the long-action statin is good to be taken anytime during the day.
It is always good to know your duration of therapy to optimize the effect and prevent side effects of the drugs. The anti-tuberculous regime is usually done for a duration of 6 months, and it differs based on the patient’s age and condition. If the drugs are taken for a longer period unknowingly, patients are more prone to the side effects such as liver and nerve damage from isoniazid.
- Interaction with substance
Most of the drugs and substances are metabolized in the liver. Hence this process will greatly affect drug absorption and distribution in the body, either with increased or decreased drug action. Certain drugs can be classified as CYP450 enzyme inducers or inhibitors, ask your pharmacist for further details.
Concomitant drugs and food taken during your treatment regime will influence the effect of your treatment. For example, do not take spironolactone and Angiotensin Converting Enzymes (ACE) inhibitors together as this drug-drug interaction will worsen high potassium levels, which is a fatal phenomenon. Similar series of events can occur if you consume potassium supplements with Angiotensin Converting Enzymes (ACE) inhibitors. Even drinks matter. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese can delay or prevent the absorption of antibiotics such as tetracyclines and ciprofloxacin (Cipro). This occurs because the calcium in such food binds to the antibiotics in the stomach and upper small intestine to form an insoluble compound. Do not take antithyroid drugs with a high iodine diet as this vicious cycle of higher iodine, more antithyroid drugs will lead to a higher incidence of side effects that include rashes, hives, and liver disease.
- Possible side effects
Knowing possible drug or treatment complications should not scare you from obtaining medical assistance. Instead, having related knowledge will increase your awareness of body health and comply with medical treatment or follow-up visits. For example, knowing about drug-induced liver injury can get you more motivated to monitor your liver profile including serum AST and ALT every 3 months. Patients with long-term steroid medication for asthma or autoimmune diseases are more prone to Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes; thus, regular follow-up visit certainly helps to assess their risk of getting complications and switch the drugs if needed.
Keep your drugs out of reach from Teething children.