Safe Use of Medications 

Eileen McNichols MSN, RN 
Director, Pastoral Care Services and Community Health 
Little Company of Mary Hospital  

Most adults take medications. Medications contribute to your overall health and wellbeing when used correctly but they also pose risks to your health, especially when used along with supplements such as herbal remedies and vitamins. Here are a few key points for safe use of medication: 

Talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new medicine. Make sure your provider knows your medical history and any other medications or supplements you are taking.  

Pay attention to the recommended dose. Taking a larger dose of a medicine will not make it work better and could be very dangerous, even deadly. Some people skip doses or take less than the recommended amount to save money. This may cause the medicine to be ineffective. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you cannot afford medications.  

Keep in touch with your care provider. If you are having any problems with the medicine or questions, share your concerns. You and your provider are partners in deciding what works best for you.  

Before stopping a medication, talk with your provider. There may be serious side effects from stopping a medication abruptly. With antibiotics, stopping before you have finished the prescription can cause bacteria to become stronger and no longer sensitive to the antibiotic.  

Medications have side effects that can be lifethreatening. Never take medicine prescribed for someone else. If you think you need a prescription, work with your provider to determine the best medicine for your particular situation and health history. 

When purchasing an over-the-counter medication, rely on your pharmacist to help select the best medication for you. Many cold remedies have multiple medications in them and you want to be sure to take the one that helps you feel better without producing any unwanted effects.  

You are the expert on your body. Together with your primary care provider, you can maintain your health for the best quality of life possible. Be proactive and take control of your health. 

Top Programs This Month 

Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St.  

Info/registration: 708 423-5774.  

Health Academy: Check-up for Your Medicine Cabinet with Critical Care Pharmacist Dr. Richard MioniMon., Aug. 12, 11 a.m. to noon.  Make sure your medicine cabinet is safe. 

Cherished Angel Support Group for parents who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant deathSat., Aug17, 10:30 a.m. to noon. This is a place to share your grief and discuss monthly topics about emotions, relationships and coping. Facilitated by Kathryn D. Gardner, LCPC, PMH-C. Free. Info: 708-229-5928 or cherishedangelsupport@lcmh.org . 

Wake Up Call Screening: Comprehensive stroke screening includes labs, ultrasounds of the abdominal aorta and carotid arteries, heart rhythm screening for atrial fibrillation and more, Sat., Aug. 24, 7:30 a.m. to noon. Fee: $170 (value $4500). Registration required. Cancer Center, 1st floor.