CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Medicines can help keep people healthy but in some situations, they can also put individuals at risk. June is National Medication Safety Month.
According to medical leaders, adverse effects from medication cause more than one million emergency department visits annually.
The month is a good time to make sure you and your loved ones are doing everything possible to stay safe including only taking what was prescribed directly to you.
“You know when your doctor prescribes you a medicine they are looking at a variety of things beyond just your medical condition. They are looking at your height and your weight and what other medications you are on and how that medication might interact. So it is really important not to share medication,” said Dr. Susan Bissett, President of the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute.
Seniors over 65 years old can also be more prone to adverse effects relating to their medicines because they tend to be on numerous medications.
“When you are taking multiple medications you want to sit down and prepare those pill organizers in advance,” explained Tom Hunter with AARP. “Maybe do weeks of pill organization so you are prepared.”
Taking the right dose is also key.
“One of the things we are talking about is taking your medications as prescribed,” Bissett said.
Another thing you can do to stay safe is to remember to tell your doctor and pharmacist about any herbs or supplements you are taking and any over-the-counter medications. Those could interact with your prescribed medications and cause adverse effects.
It is also a reminder to safely dispose of your medications. Go through your medications from time to time to see what is expired or what you’re no longer taking. Groups such as the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute or your local police department can help you dispose of them properly.
For more information on how to stay safe, you can visit the AARP here.