“I don’t know what medicines I’m on” is not an acceptable answer.

Occasionally, patients come to their doctors office appointments and cannot readily recall all the different medicines they are taking.  If you are seeing your primary care doctor, chances are that list of all those medicines are available on your chart.  However, if you are seeing a specialist, all the other medicines that you are taking may not be known to the specialist doctor.  Although you might think that some of the medicines you are taking may not be relevant to the new problem at hand, any new medication given to you needs to be resolved with your other medications in order to avoid any complications.

Pharmaceutical companies are notorious for giving complicated chemical names to generic brands of medications, and then using catchy names for the brand names.  In this day and age of being constantly bombarded by advertisements, patients may get confused by what medicines they are taking, and what dose of each medicine they are on.

The classic way of making sure that a new doctor can know for sure what medicines you are taking was to bring all your medicines with you to a new doctor’s visit  Presenting the bottles of each medicines to your doctor can help the doctor write down the names and the dosage and the frequency of each medication.  However, one never knows what emergency situations might arise when the patient does not have those medicines available for immediate review.

Perhaps there are easier ways of having that information with you at all times.  One simple way is to make list on a piece of paper and carry that list with you at all times.  This could be on a small piece of paper that you carry in your wallet or your purse at all times.  Alternatively, you can make a note on your smart phone and have that note available.  It is important to have that list updated on a regular basis as the medications change.  The information in that list should include the name of the medication, the dose of the medication, as well as the frequency that you have to take it.

Elderly patients might need extra help with this task of list generating.  I recommend that their next of kin should make this list for them and have them store it with the patient at all times.  A copy of the same list should be also carried by the next of kin and every other member of the family in order to prevent any emergencies.  Especially in the case of elderly patients, I recommend that on the flip side of the note, you also include the names, speciality, and the phone numbers of each of the doctors that the patient sees.

Having the information about what medications you are taking is of utmost importance.  You never know when is the next time you will be in an emergency situation and the doctor who needs to save your life absolutely needs to know what medicines you are on already.

 

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Posted in: General Health & Medicine

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