A patient has two different insulins to inject to treat her diabetes: one that meets her baseline needs and works slowly throughout the day, and one that she injects at mealtimes and lowers blood sugar quickly. She wants to inject her daily requirement of insulin in the morning. The patient's vision is poor and she accidentally grabs the other fast-acting insulin from the bedside table. It's not until her blood sugar is very low when checked that the confusion is noticed.
The example described here happened exactly the same way in a Berlin hospital. It shows what you may know from your own experience: Taking medications as prescribed is often not easy. You are not alone with this problem: It is estimated that around one in two people do not take their prescribed medicines properly. However, taking medication correctly is important for successful treatment. In this information you will learn how to use medicines safely.
At a glance
For successful treatment, it is important to use medications reliably and as prescribed by a doctor. Some hurdles can make this difficult, such as stress, multiple drugs at the same time, changing an active ingredient, incomprehensible directions for use or side effects. You can improve the way you take your medicine. Most importantly, talk to your health care provider.
There are numerous reasons why medicines are not used correctly:
– The hectic pace of everyday life or simple forgetfulness can lead to irregular dosing.
– People who use a lot of medicines lose track of them more quickly. About one in three people over the age of 65 receives four or more medicines.
– Medicines often have package inserts with a great deal of information. Not everyone understands how to take the medication correctly.
– Elderly people in particular have problems with their eyes or hands, which further hinders taking it properly.
– Some people are confused when they do not receive their usual medication at the pharmacy. The same active ingredient in a medicine may be packaged differently, have a different name, or be different in shape or color.
– Every drug can have undesirable effects. Sometimes people change the dose themselves or stop taking the medicine without discussing it with their doctor.
– Even non-prescribed drugs that can be obtained without a prescription at the pharmacy or drugstore can have side effects.
– Different active ingredients can influence each other. Sometimes foods also react with medicines. For example, some antibiotics have a weaker effect if you take them with milk.
– People who do not experience any symptoms often find it difficult to take their medication on a permanent basis, for example in the case of high blood prere.
Studies show that not taking medications correctly leads to an increased number of hospital admissions.
What you can do yourself
You can do a lot to help your medicines work properly. These tips should help you:
– A doctor should be your main contact for all questions about medicines, for example your family doctor.
– Take your time to have it explained to you how to take the medicines. Ask if there is anything you do not understand. And have the information given to you in writing.
– Ask your doctor to give you a so-called Medication plan. The medication schedule should include all prescribed. Self-purchased medicines face. Therefore, have this supplemented at the pharmacy with over-the-counter medications. Don't just think about tablets, but also, for example, sprays, drops or ointments. Herbal remedies, vitamins, and so on are also included in this list.
– Always carry your medication schedule with you. Present it at every visit to the doctor, pharmacy or hospital.
– Let us know if you have any anxiety or problems taking your medication, for example, if you find it difficult to swallow tablets.
– Feel free to ask if you really still need all of your medicines. Studies show: The fewer tablets someone has to take, the better the treatment works. However, do not discontinue any medication without consulting a doctor.
– If you have medicines that are difficult to use or permanent illnesses, ask if there are special training courses on this subject.
– Also tell them if you experience discomfort while taking a medicine.
– Stick to it if your medications are scheduled for a certain time of day. For some medications, it is important to take them before, during or after a meal.
– Incorporate taking your medicine into your daily routine. For example, you can always take your medicine before brushing your teeth, or always in the evening when you watch the daytime news.
– Get reminders: set an alarm clock or your cell phone. Or ask family members to remind you to take your medications properly. Notepads, for example on the mirror or refrigerator, can also be helpful.