Prescription medication can play an important role in our lives. It can help us overcome a short-term illness or manage a chronic condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48.7% of Americans have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days. It is estimated 10.7% of Americans have used five or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days. To help us better understand how to manage medications, Janna Kittle, PharmD, BCPS, a pharmacist with North Kansas City Hospital, offers a few tips.
Taking Your Medication
For multiple medications, a pill organizer can be a great tool to help sort your doses by the day or time of day. But, keep your empty prescription bottle somewhere safe until that medication is refilled and replaced. The label includes important information you may need to reference, such as your doctor’s name, pharmacy’s phone number, medication name, instructions for taking it and the date it expires.
Because medication is unique and comes with its own set of guidelines, never combine medications into one bottle.
If the instructions for your medication say it should be taken with food, it’s best to take it within five minutes of eating your meal. That can be before, during or immediately after eating – whatever is easiest for you to remember.
When taking any medication, pay attention to the expiration date. Do not take medications, including over-the-counter medications, after the expiration date. Medication taken after an expiration date can be less effective or potentially more toxic.
Tracking Your Medication
Keep a list of your current medications that includes the dose and when you started taking it. This information will help you communicate with your doctor or pharmacist. Be sure to include over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements.
Download our free medication form, and bring it to your doctor appointments or visits with a pharmacist.
Disposing of Medication
When your medication expires or is no longer needed, dispose of it properly. Dr. Kittle recommends taking it to a designated Northland collection location. Make sure to call ahead for drop-off hours:
- Excelsior Springs Police Department Lobby, 301 South Main St., 630.2000
- Kansas City Missouri Police North Patrol Division Lobby, 1001 NW Barry Road, 437.6200
- Kansas City Missouri Police Shoal Creek Patrol Division Lobby, 6801 NE Pleasant Valley Road, 816.413.3400
- Liberty Police Department Lobby, 191 E. Kansas Street, 816.439.4716
- North Kansas City Police Department Lobby, 2020 Howell St., 816.274.6013
- Smithville Police Department Lobby, 107 West Main St., 816. 532.0500
Medication, when used correctly, can help you maintain and improve your health. Always follow instructions from your doctor about how to take, store and dispose of your medication.