Using your medication safely

Medication dos and don'ts

These 10 medication dos and don'ts can help you make sure that your medication works safely to improve your health.

Five medication dos:

  • DO take each medication exactly as it has been prescribed.
  • DO make sure that all your doctors know about all your medications.
  • DO let your doctors know about any other over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbs that you use.
  • DO try to use the same chemist to fill all your prescriptions so that they can help you keep track of everything you're taking.
  • DO keep medications out of the reach of children.

Five medication don'ts:

  • DON'T change your medication dose or schedule without talking with your doctor.
  • DON'T use medication prescribed for someone else.
  • DON'T crush or break pills unless your doctor instructs you to do so.
  • DON'T use medication that has passed its expiration date.
  • DON'T store your medications in locations that are either too hot or too cold. For example, the bathroom cabinet may not be the best place for your medication.

For more information visit the WebMD site.

Talk to your doctor about taking fewer medicines - campaign

The Council of Medical Colleges (CMC) is encouraging older people to talk to their doctor about whether they could take fewer medicines. The CMC coordinates the Choosing Wisely campaign, which encourages patients to ask their health professional:
• Do I really need this test or procedure?
• What are the risks?
• Are there simpler, safer options?
• What happens if I don't do anything?

What would medical marijuana do to our health system?

In this summer podcast series the Go to Health podcast tackles a different health issue each week. Listen to the podcast interview with Ross Bell of the Drug Foundation hosted by Frances Cook and whether our health system can handle medicinal marijuana.

All about the 2018 influenza season

More than 1.2 million New Zealanders have their influenza vaccination each year. Getting vaccinated each year as early as possible before winter hits gives the best protection.

  • Older people and those with certain medical conditions are more likely to have medical complications from influenza.
  • A FREE influenza vaccination reduces these risks
  • Influenza is a serious illness that can put anyone in hospital or even kill them, including young and healthy people
  • Influenza vaccination is safe, effective and cannot give you "the flu"

You can download the Flu Kit Book and watch Dr Nikki Turner talk about the influenza vaccine and find out more information and links to posters and brochure on their website

New Zealand's Medicines Landscape has released a 12 page booklet that provides an in-depth view of the innovative pharmaceutical industry in New Zealand. It provides new data on the medicines waiting list including the estimated number of patients still waiting for funding decision to be made.

2018 - Keep Antibiotics Working campaign

Antibiotics aren't always the best treatment for some common infections. In fact, they can't fix a virus like a cold or flu and are not usually the best to treat most ear infections. We need to use antibiotics carefully, or they'll stop working.
Overusing antibiotics, especially when we don't need to, is causing antibiotic resistance - when bacteria get better at defending themselves and our antibiotics don't work as well.
Over time, antibiotics could stop working when we need them to, putting people's lives at risk. It's a global health threat and we need to help keep antibiotics working. For more information click here

Websites of interest

  • Medsafe is the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. It is a business unit of the Ministry of Health and is the authority responsible for the regulation of therapeutic products in New Zealand. Medsafe is responsible for administering the Medicines Act 1981 and Regulations 1984, and parts of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and Regulations 1977. Their website holds information on medicines, data sheets, consumer medicine information, and discussion on 'hot topics'.
  • PHARMAC, is the Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand. Their website contains information on what Pharmac is, what they do and how they use the available funding to obtain the best value medicines for New Zealanders
  • MEDLINEplus, an American website, contains health information from the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine. It has extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and other trusted sources on over 650 diseases and conditions. There are is a medical encyclopedia and a medical dictionary, extensive information on prescription and nonprescription drugs, health information from the media, and links to thousands of clinical trials.
  • Drugwatch is an American website that highlights drugs and medical devices that may have some adverse effects on older people.

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