Friday, November 12, 2010

Stop--don't waste money by taking drugs stupidly

As many as 75% of the elderly, of which I am one, take their medicines incorrectly sometimes.

The key, according to the National Council on Patient Information ( is to look at each medication and see if you are clear on when and how to take it.

What is the name—brand name and generic? Do you know?

What is it for?

How, when, and for how long should you be taking it?

When will it start working? How will I know?

Are there side effects, what are they, and what should I do if they occur.

Is this medicine OK with the others I take? This includes non-prescription supplements and even stuff like grapefruit juice.

Should this med be in the fridge, by the stove, in a steam bathroom?

So many people I know have gotten leg pains from statins—but keep taking them or switch to another brand? Is that what you should do?

If you are cutting pills in half to make them last longer, this may mean you don’t get enough. If you cut them to save money by getting a bigger dose at the same price, then taking half, this may be OK.

Are all generics the same as the brands? Supposedly yes, but many doctors think brands are superior for some drugs—namely, synthroid for thyroid trouble.

Time of day can also make a difference. I hear you should take BP pills at night. Have never tried it.

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