Prescription for safety

The Council on Health Promotion (COHP), an initiative of the British Columbia Medical Association, introduced its Seniors Living Well campaign this year to help improve overall health and safety of seniors in B.C. One program helps seniors and their loved ones avoid the dangers of medication mix-ups. It’s advice that will benefit anyone taking prescription drugs. Here are the COHP’s five tips on the safe use and disposal of prescription drugs.

1) Develop a relationship with your medical professional. Everyone needs to build a continuing care relationship with a single doctor and pharmacist familiar with their medical history. Your family doctor should be the central point for coordinating medications, especially in times of emergencies.

2) Keep medications in one spot at home. Organizing all drugs in one central place can help caregivers and paramedics in the event of a medical emergency. Everyone should be aware of the person’s medical status and what medications they are currently taking.

3) Using a day-of-the-week pillbox is a safe way to help remember when to take medication.

4) Keep mecations in the original bottles. The label of any medication contains important information, such as side effects and frequency of medication. Never consolidate your pills in one bottle.

5) Do an annual overhaul of your medicine cabinet. Toss out over-the-counter drugs as well as prescriptions that have expired. Check with your pharmacist about returning expired medication. Most pharmacies accept leftover and expired medication. Ask your pharmacist where you should bring it for safe disposal in your community.