Using medications is a part of our daily routine as we all fall ill at some point. Medications are prescribed to enhance our health, prevent illnesses, or alleviate symptoms of diseases. However, taking medications also requires proper care and attention to ensure they work effectively.
In this article, you will learn about the ten common errors made by Nigerians while taking their prescriptions or medications. You may have been committing some of these mistakes due to lack of knowledge or carelessness, but now you will be informed of the right ways.
Mistakes Nigerians Make When Taking medicines
1. Sharing Prescriptions
It is wrong to share your prescription drugs with others, even if they have the same condition as you. This is because many drugs are designed to meet the specific needs of a patient, and different individuals might react differently to the same drug.
2. Taking More than Prescribed
Taking more medication than prescribed does not help get better faster or increase the effectiveness of the drug. Over-medication can harm the stomach or intestines.
3. Ignoring Expiration Dates
Checking the expiration date is important as expired drugs can be ineffective and harmful.
4. Not Following Instructions
Medications come with specific instructions and it is important to take them exactly as prescribed for them to work effectively and for your own safety.
5. Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol can interact negatively with many medications and reduce their effectiveness or cause complications.
6. Not Knowing Side Effects
It is important to ask the doctor about the side effects of the medication as they can impact daily activities such as work or driving.
7. Taking medications when you are not yet sick
Taking medication when you are not sick is not recommended, as there are drugs and vaccines specifically designed to prevent illnesses. Medications meant for treating illnesses should only be taken when one is actually sick.
8. Overusing Sweet Medications
Despite their taste, drugs should not be overused, including Vitamin C. Excessive intake can lead to stomach cramps.
9. Not Informing the Doctor of Other Medications
It is crucial to inform the doctor of any other drugs or herbal medicines being taken as they may interact with each other.
10. Stopping Medications Too Soon
Complete the prescribed medication even if feeling better as most diseases can recur if medication is stopped abruptly.
Ways to Avoid Medication Mistakes
Medication mistakes can have serious consequences for your health, so it’s important to take steps to avoid them. Here are 10 ways you can reduce your risk of making a medication error:
- Know your medications: Make a list of all the medications you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and vitamins. It’s important to know the names, dosages, and purposes of all your medications.
- Read the label: Always read the label on your medication before taking it. Make sure you understand how to take the medication, how much to take, and how often to take it. If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider.
- Take medications as prescribed: Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when taking your medications. Don’t change the dose or frequency without talking to your healthcare provider first.
- Keep a medication schedule: Use a calendar, pillbox, or app to help you keep track of when you need to take your medications. This can help you avoid missing a dose or taking too much.
- Store medications properly: Store your medications in a cool, dry place. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. Don’t store medications in the bathroom, where heat and moisture can affect their potency.
- Avoid medication interactions: Tell your healthcare provider about all the medications, supplements, and vitamins you are taking. Some medications can interact with each other, causing harmful side effects.
- Keep a list of all allergies: Make sure you keep a list of all your allergies, including any reactions to medications. Share this list with your healthcare provider and pharmacist.
- Ask questions: If you don’t understand something about your medication, don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for clarification.
- Be cautious with over-the-counter medications: Just because a medication is available over-the-counter doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone. Always read the label and follow the instructions. If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider.
- Keep a medication journal: Keep a record of your medications, including when you take them and any side effects you experience. Share this information with your healthcare provider to help them monitor your health.
By taking these steps, you can help ensure that you are taking your medications safely and effectively. If you have any concerns or questions about your medications, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider.
These are the ten common mistakes Nigerians make while taking medications. Please share any other mistakes not mentioned and which ones you have been guilty of in the comments below.