5 Tips for Managing Medications and Their Side Effects – Starting a new prescription can cause feelings of apprehension. How do you incorporate this into your daily routine? What happens if you skip a dose? And perhaps most importantly, what are the side effects?
Every medication has its pros and cons, and often people find they have to deal with a few side effects to get necessary treatment. Being aware of how to handle the downsides is necessary for your wellbeing. Keep reading for five tips to help you manage your medicines and side effects.
1. Communicate with Your Healthcare Provider
One of the most important steps when it comes to managing medications is communicating with your healthcare provider. This includes discussing your medical history, current health conditions, and any allergies or previous reactions to medications. You never want to lie or keep secrets from your doctor because they’re there to help you.
With this information, your healthcare provider can make more informed decisions regarding your treatment plan. They may even be able to prescribe medications that are less likely to cause severe side effects. For example, if you’re allergic to penicillin, your doctor can prescribe different antibiotics.
Regularly consulting with your healthcare provider is also beneficial because it allows you to easily address concerns you have about your medications. If you experience negative side effects, they can often offer guidance on lifestyle modifications or recommend different prescriptions. Oftentimes, there are multiple medications that treat the same condition, and you may need to try a couple options before finding what works best for you.
2. Adhere to Prescribed Dosages
It’s crucial to take medications exactly as directed by your healthcare provider. You want to make sure you’re taking the right dosage at the correct frequency. Some prescriptions work best when you take them at the same time every day, like certain birth control pills or hair loss treatments like finasteride. Missing a pill can lead to less effective treatment or side effects. When it comes to hair loss treatments, if you start to miss doses regularly, your progress is likely to slow down and your hair loss could resume.
Taking too much of a medication can also have adverse effects. Worst case scenario, you could even overdose. To make sure you take your pills on time, consider using pill organizers, trackers, or apps to stay on schedule. You can even set an alarm as a reminder. These tools can be particularly helpful if you are taking multiple medications throughout the day.
3. Read the Fineprint
When signing an important contract, you should always pay attention to the minute details because they can negatively affect you down the line. If you’re starting a new prescription, it’s necessary to adopt this same attitude. Knowing all the potential side effects from the get-go will let you know what to expect. This way, you’ll be able to anticipate and identify any adverse reactions before they escalate.
When reading this information, be aware that not all individuals experience the same side effects, and some may not experience any. It’s easy to spiral and think the worst when reading about side effects, but know those are listed as a safety precaution. When you’re aware of possible reactions, you can monitor your body’s response to the medication and promptly identify any unusual symptoms. If you do experience side effects, seek medical attention as appropriate.
4. Avoid Combining Certain Medications
It’s always important to be cautious about combining drugs that don’t react well together. Some medicines contain the same active ingredients, even if marketed toward different illnesses. Taking these together could lead to ingesting dangerous levels, causing damage to your internal organs. Combining prescription pain medications is one example that can lead to liver injury or an elevated risk of addiction.
On the other hand, some active ingredients in drugs can cause negative reactions when taken simultaneously. For instance, taking some types of over-the-counter cold medicine while on a stimulant, like Adderall, can lead to dangerously high blood pressure. It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about what drugs to avoid before you start taking a new prescription.
5. Adjust Your Lifestyle
Leading a healthy lifestyle can significantly contribute to managing medications and their side effects. Eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting enough sleep can enhance your overall well-being. And certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate some medication-related side effects. For example, if you’re taking a prescription that can cause constipation, you could adjust your diet to increase your intake of fiber.
Certain medications may have specific dietary restrictions or guidelines. This could include avoiding certain types of food or drink. For instance, the antidepressant escitalopram warns not to consume grapefruit while taking medication. This seems somewhat random, but it’s important to know so you don’t accidentally cause adverse reactions. If grapefruit is part of your normal diet, cutting it out would be a necessary lifestyle change.
Other medicines can change your lifestyle, unrelated to diet. For example, many prescriptions cause increased sensitivity to sunlight. This means you’re more likely to get a sunburn or overheat. In this situation, you’ll have to be diligent about how much time you spend outside during warm weather. You might not be able to participate in all-day outdoor activities anymore.
Make Your Health Your Priority
It can be scary to look at the list of all the possible side effects listed on a medication. However, remember that just because a reaction is mentioned doesn’t mean you’ll experience it. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and tips for taking your prescription, and keep your overall health a priority. This will ensure everything goes as smoothly as it possibly can, while allowing you to live your life to the fullest.