‘Take Charge!’

Have you ever come away from the Pharmacy, been distracted and not remembered a word they said? Don’t worry, you certainly aren’t alone, but it doesn’t mean that you still can’t get the right information about your medications.

This week is Be Medicinewise week and this year, Australians are being encouraged to ‘Take Charge!’ of their medicines and their health.  The way we can do this is by reminding everyone to:

Ask the right questions – of health care professionals so you can have an active role in your health.  Question suggestions can be found at www.choosingwisely.org.au/5-questions-to-ask-your-doctor

This also includes reading labels and packaging (psst, the instructions you missed at the Pharmacy will all be on the label, and detailed information on the Consumer Medicine Information – CMI found inside the box)

Ask the right people – do I need to add here that Google or a Facebook group probably isn’t asking the right people!  There can always be issues with the source of information – is it evidence based, trustworthy and up-to-date?  The only way to know for sure is to ask your health professional or consult the evidence based service NPS Medicinewise at http://www.nps.org.au/  There you can find a ALOT of information about medicines and can be guaranteed it is reliable – there are people on their board who have been working in the pharmaceutical industry for longer than I have been alive!

Follow the right advice – always take medications how they were prescribed or intended – and if you don’t understand, ASK!  That’s what taking charge is about – it’s your body and no one else is going to take responsibility for it.

I was also impressed to discover that NPS Medicinewise even has an app!  The free MedicineList+ smartphone app helps people take charge of their medicines.  The app allows you to keep a record of your medications and pretty much any other health details – they have it covered.

All of these points can be used for prescription (obviously), over-the-counter and also complementary medicines – it is up to you to know the what, why, when and how of the medications you choose to take.  Actually, this Taking Charge! campaign and its three points can be applied to any health information you might receive from alleged ‘experts’.

There is so much information available to us these days, unfortunately much of it comes from less than credible sources.  So heed the Be Medicinewise campaign message and ‘Take Charge!’ of your health and your medications.  I also ask you to share this information with your loved ones – after all, knowledge is power!

Source:  Many of the facts for this blog have been sourced from http://www.nps.org.au