Medication myths and mistakes

Virtually everyone has taken medication at some point. And despite the widespread use, there are many medication myths and mistakes, says Scott Walker, Director of Pharmacy at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. One in five people in Canada believes that medication detox is a good thing to do and so they would basically stop their medication and not take it for a period of time and this is not a good idea. Walker says symptom control can stop within hours of discontinuing medication, which can be very dangerous without physician oversight. Another myth: it’s OK to share. Walker says nearly one third of patients believe sharing non-prescription medications that have been specifically recommended for someone else is alright. Every person is unique and to borrow drugs, to change your dosage according to how your best friend thinks you should be taking your drug is a prescription for disaster. Another common problem: not checking if your medication is up to date, something about one in ten Canadians is guilty of. Just like everything else in life, your bread, medications expire. And some medications expire more rapidly than others. That includes suspensions and eyedrops. But no drug lasts forever. Expired medications should be taken to the pharmacy for proper disposal. And when it comes to kids and medication, be careful. Many falsely believe it’s OK to give adult medication to a child at a reduced dosage. Their response to medications, the way they clear them, the rate at which they clear them and how they metabolize these drugs is different from an adult. Walker recommends that during your annual check up, write down any medication-related questions and bring them with you. Also, have your pharmacist do a meds-check to make sure everything is still appropriate. With age, people don’t clear drugs from their systems as quickly, and drug to drug interactions are always a risk. That’s often why pharmacy staff will ask so many questions. While it might seem like you’re just repeating what was discussed at your doctor’s office, Walker says, it’s an important second check. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.

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