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Medication Tips

Date: November 6, 2012
Filed under: Clinical Care, Improve Clinical Care, Tools


Your Medical Information

Keep a record or journal of your medical history.

  • Past and present health conditions and any surgeries.
  • Your immunization and vaccination history.
  • All of your food, environment and medicine allergies and associated symptoms.
  • Your height and weight.
  • A list of your health care providers’ names and phone numbers.

Medication Record

Keep a record of all your medication details.

  • Whenever you start a new medication, be sure to add it to your record. Write down the reason and date you started taking the medicine, and the times you must take it during the day. If you stop taking a medication, write down the date and the reason. Record any side effects or allergies you experience with any medication, and what to do if these should occur.

Medication Safety

Make sure that all members of your health care team know about every medication you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.

  • At least once a year bring all of your medicines and supplements with you to your doctor or pharmacist to talk about them and find out if there are any problems. Keeping your medication records up to date is another good idea, and will help ensure you get the best quality care from all your healthcare providers.

Make sure your doctor and pharmacist know about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.

  • This will help you avoid getting a medicine that can harm you.

Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand – both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them. Questions you might ask:

  • What is the medicine for? How will it help me?
  • How am I supposed to take it, and for how long?
  • What side effects are likely? What do I do if they occur?
  • Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?
  • What food, drink, or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?
  • How should I store this medicine?

Make sure you understand the directions on your medicine labels.

  • Medicine labels can be hard to understand. Ask your pharmacist to explain. For example, if the label says “take four doses daily” does this mean one dose every 6 hours around the clock, or just during regular waking hours?

Ask your pharmacist for the best way to measure your liquid medicine.

  • Research shows that many people do not understand the right way to measure liquid medicines. For example, many people use household teaspoons, which often do not hold a true teaspoon of liquid. Special devices like marked syringes can help you to measure the right dose. But always make sure you know how to use the device.

Ask your pharmacist about safe disposal of old medicines.


If you have questions or concerns about your medication after normal business hours, you can consult with a pharmacist through BC NurseLine:

BCNurseLine
24 hours toll-free in BC 1-866-215-4700
Local calling in Greater Vancouver 604-215-4700
Deaf/hearing-impaired call toll-free 1-866-889-4700