You and your medication

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1 You and your medication Registered Charity

2 You and your medication Your doctors, nurses and pharmacists work hard to keep you healthy, and you also have an important role to play in maintaining your health. Ask questions, expect answers, it s your life and your health. This leaflet gives you general information about how to take your medications safely and it will help you take ownership of your health. The word medication can mean different things to different people, when we use it in this leaflet, it includes: over the counter medication, like painkillers inhalers or other sprays creams and ointments herbal remedies, vitamins or other supplements that you have bought. Ask your local pharmacist for a free medication review. They will be able to talk with you about your medication and how best to take them. 2

3 10 key points 1 2 Find out about your conditions/ illnesses and make sure you know which medication you are taking to treat each one. All medication should come with a leaflet that explains how to take them properly. 5 6 Take the list each time you visit the doctor, dentist, optician and any out of hours clinic. Keep your list safe and make sure your carers and relatives know where to find it in an emergency. 3 4 Use the space in this booklet on page 10 to keep a record of the medications you are taking. Make a note of: the name and strength and what you call each medication; how many you take and how often include other medication you take regularly such as any vitamins, nutritional supplements or herbal products that you have bought include any allergies that you may have to food or medications Your medication is individual to you; never take someone else s. It may interfere with your other medication or you may be allergic to it. Keep your medication away from children and animals and don t store them in a sunny or humid place such as the bathroom/kitchen as it can affect them. Ask your pharmacist before you buy any other medication or herbal remedies as they may affect the way other medication works. Medications must be disposed of safely at your local pharmacist. 3

4 At your hospital appointment Take your medication with you to your appointment. Ask: are there any changes to your medication and why is there any special information that you need to know, for example, stopping any of your other medication. When you next see your GP make sure that they know about any changes and check that the surgery record has been updated. This is especially important before ordering a repeat prescription. Remember: update your medication list in this booklet with any changes. At your doctor s surgery You can ask your General Practitioner (GP) why you re taking medication, even if you have been on them for a while. If new medication is prescribed for you, make sure you know what it is called, why you need it, how to take it and if there are any likely side effects. Ask: if you will need any follow up checks, blood tests or blood pressure checks if your GP surgery has a repeat prescription service and make sure you know how it works your local pharmacies if they offer a service to collect your prescription from the surgery then deliver to your house. Only order the medication you need Remember: always check your medication against your list in this booklet. Tablets and capsules can look different when supplied from different pharmacies or different manufacturers. If in doubt ask if you have the correct ones. 4

5 Taking your medication Read the label every time you take your medication, check you have the right one and that you are following the instructions. Some medication must be taken at set times or before or after meals so that they work best. If you forget to take one dose at the right time don t double a dosage when you remember, just carry on as normal. If your medication is interfering with your daily life ask if it is possible to change the type or the dose to suit you. For example, water tablets are designed to make you go to the toilet more often, so these are usually taken first thing in the morning. If you decide to take it later in the day you might find you have to get up a lot in the night. Your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse can help you to choose the best time to take your medication and suggest simple things to help you remember when to take them. 5

6 Side effects Some medications have side effects, for example, stomach upsets and changes to your normal bowel pattern. Any medication that alters your vision, hearing or concentration may alter your balance and judgement. Be careful if you get up quickly or rush to answer the phone or door. Read the leaflet that comes with your medication as it lists all the possible side effects. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you if your medication has any and what to do if you experience them. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns; don t just stop taking your medication as you may do more harm than good. 6

7 Alcohol and medication Safe alcohol consumption is important to your general health and well being. When you are ill the effect of alcohol may be greater than normal. Drowsiness caused by certain medication is made worse by alcohol, the medication leaflet will also say if this is a known problem. Is it safe to drive while taking medication? Some medications can cause drowsiness and may affect your ability to drive; these can include sedatives, strong painkillers or antihistamines (commonly taken for allergies). Other medication may alter your vision, hearing or concentration, which may also affect your ability to drive. Always read the leaflet that is provided with your medication to see if it may affect your ability to drive or check with your pharmacist or doctor. Disposing of medications Take any medications that you re no longer taking or that are out of date back to your local pharmacy; don t keep them just in case. Don t throw them out with your normal rubbish, or wash them down the sink or toilet. Unless otherwise stated, medications not in their original container should be disposed of within a year of the date that they were given to you; this should be on the label. 7

8 Using the internet wisely Many internet sites offer good health information, but there is no official control and anyone can set up a site. As a general rule look for government, NHS and registered charity sites. NHS Direct Wales has a good range of health advice You can buy medication or get them dispensed using internet sites. However, make sure that the site is regulated in the UK. Medication bought from unregulated sites may not contain the drug you think it does; they could be made anywhere in the world and not meet UK standards. Look out for the below registered pharmacy logo as this shows that the site is regulated in the UK. 8

9 Useful contacts Age Cymru Visit the health and wellbeing pages of the Age Cymru website to find out more about healthy living: If you would like further information contact the Healthy Ageing Team on or Age UK Advice Age Cymru is working in partnership with Age UK to provide Age UK Advice. For free factsheets on a range of topics, ring Age UK Advice on: (freephone) open seven days a week from NHS Direct Wales Tel: (local charge) 24 hours NHS direct operates a 24 hour nurse advice and health information service. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Tel: (weekdays ) Report side effects from your medication using their Yellow Card Scheme. Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) Tel: (weekdays ) Thanks to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Wales for their help with this leaflet. Follow us on: facebook.com/agecymru twitter.com/agecymru Tŷ John Pathy, 13/14 Neptune Court Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ Tel: Supported by the Welsh Assembly Government Age Cymru is a registered charity Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales Registered office address: Tŷ John Pathy, 13/14 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ. Age Cymru

10 Your medication list Eich rhestr meddyginiaeth Name of medication Enw r feddyginiaeth What I call it Yr hyn rwy n ei galw How much to take and when (e.g. with breakfast, lunch or dinner) Faint sydd angen ei chymryd a phryd (e.e. gyda brecwast, cinio neu swper) Comments/other information Sylwadau/gwybodaeth arall

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