Medicines/Drugs - Is Medication Safe?
Before any type of medication can be sold in Britain, it needs to pass rigorous safety checks to ensure that is it appropriate for use. The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) rigorously regulates the safety aspects of medicines and investigates the common side effects arising from them.
Many kinds of medication have components with the potential to cause effects that can be poisonous, or possibly fatal, if taken in excess. Always read the information leaflet supplied with your medication. – if you are not given one ask for it.
Does it matter that I don’t take it at the same time each day?
It may do- is the answer – and that might sound vague but some types of medication must be taken at regular intervals, while others can be taken more sporadically. It should specify in the instructions.
Why do I have to take my medicine with a meal?
Some medicines need to be absorbed while or after you have your meal as they may be too concentrated if the medicine is taken on its own. Others need to be taken before food to help prepare your stomach for the meal.
Can I drink alcohol whilst on my medication?
The instruction leaflet which accompanies your medication should specify quite clearly if you are able to drink alcohol and also what will happen if you do. This usually means that either
- Drowsiness caused by certain medications and is made worse by alcohol.
- Medication administered to combat alcoholism can cause severe reactions
- Operating machinery can be affected by the combination of medication and alcohol
It is safer to go without alcohol if you are ill and in need of medication.
Can I drive with my medication?
The instruction leaflet supplied should clearly identify if you are able to drive but it is worth taking into consideration that strong painkillers/ antihistamines/ sedatives can cause drowsiness , other medications have been known to affect hearing /concentration and sight .
Is it Okay to take lots of different medication?
Your GP will be aware of the medication you are currently taking and will take drug interaction into consideration when they prescribe. –However if you are not sure always ask.
If you are taking vitamins or herbal remedies check with your pharmacist or GP that they will not have any ill affect on the medicine you are taking.
What happens when medicines react with each other?
Medicines can have a variety of affects on each other some can cause:
- Stomach or bowel upsets – like antibiotics
- One medicine might affect another by not being absorbed properly and so causing it not to be as affective
- One might affect the way the chemical process another is broken down.
What do they mean by side effects?
These are possible side effects- medicines react with most of us in the same way and to the majority there will not be any reaction or side effects felt other than helping us to get well.
Others not so fortunate may have unpleasant reactions which often do not last long and are not a serious problem.
If medicines are likely to have adverse side effects your GP will tell you this at the time of prescribing and discuss these with you.
If you are at all worried about any side effect consult your Pharmacist or GP
http://medguides.medicines.org.uk/ -an online guide to all medicines check yours out
http://www.npsa.nhs.uk/ - National Patient Safety Agency ( NPSA) campaign for more awareness of drug’s risks. The NPSA is a Special Health Authority created in July 2001 to co-ordinate the efforts of the entire country to report, and more importantly to learn from mistakes and problems that affect patient safety.