Developing Healthier Prescription Medication Habits
We are now into the new year, and this means that a lot of us have set goals or resolutions for the new year. How many of you have actually included some health-related goals into those resolutions? Developing healthier prescription medication habits is definitely something to consider ensuring you have a happy and healthy year.
Clean Out the Medicine Cabinet
One of the first things you should do is clean out your medicine cabinet. You will want to see if there is any old or expired medication that needs to be disposed of. These include prescription medication as well as any over the counter medicine you may have. If you don't see an expiration date on the medicine, here is one of the general rules of thumb to abide by ? prescription medications typically last for one year from the date they were filled.
Throwing out this expired medication is important because, over time, the chemicals in the medicine will begin to break down, the medicine will become much less effective, and some can even prove to be harmful when they are taken past that expiration date.
To properly dispose of expired medication, contact the Drug Enforcement Agency. Twice a year, they have collection sites where they collect medication. If you are not located near one of these sites, check their guidelines on how to properly dispose of medication.
If any of the expired medication has an undesirable substance, it should be mixed with either coffee grounds or cat litter. The mix needs to be placed securely in a disposable container with a lid, and all of your personal information needs to be removed from bottles and containers before disposing of anything.
Take Prescriptions as Prescribed
Another healthy habit to adopt is taking all of your prescriptions as prescribed by your doctor. For it to work correctly, directions must be followed, so you don’t take too much or too little. Antibiotics are one medication you need to take correctly for it to be effective. You also need to make sure to finish all of the prescribed antibiotics, or the infection you are treating can come back.
Get Your New Insurance Cards
Since it is a new year, you also want to switch out your old insurance cards in your wallet for your new ones. Remove the old ones even if they look identical to your new cards. There may be small changes that have been made, and if you have the wrong card, it could affect your care due to outdated information.
You should also update your insurance information with your local pharmacy, so when it is time to get a new prescription filled, or you need your first refill of the new year, you are ready to go with all of the updated information.
Understand Your Medications
Do you know why you were prescribed these medications? Before putting anything into your body, it is best to understand exactly what it is and what it is supposed to treat. Many people take their prescriptions without really knowing why.
Don't Wait for Refills
Request your refills before you run out of your medication. This means you need to closely monitor what you have so you don't wait until the very last minute to get the medication refilled. Even going for a few days without certain medications can prove to be disastrous. If you wait too long, you risk running into problems that may delay your refill and cause you to miss out on a day or two of the medicine.
A good habit to embrace is to request the medicine at least five days before the refill date so you can avoid issues like the medicine being out of stock, insurance needs prior authorization, recalled medicine, and if the medicine is no longer covered by your insurance. Many pharmacies do offer automatic refills as well, so you can eliminate the need to remember to do it yourself.
Make a Medication List
Having a list of all of your prescription medications as well as any over the counter medicines you take is also helpful. It helps you avoid certain drug interactions that can ultimately prove to be dangerous. This is also another reason to fully understand what it is you are taking at all times as well.
Your list also needs to include any topical medicines and other medications, including topical patches, eye and ear drops, nasal sprays, and even the vitamins and supplements you are taking. In addition, include all dietary supplements, inhalers, injections, infusions, implantable devices, mailed medications, and medicine you only have to use as needed.
Your doctor or pharmacist can help you make this list by printing out all of the medications they currently have on file for you, so you don't miss anything.
Finally, it is a good idea to take advantage of everything you can to save money. Sometimes people go without a prescription they really need simply because they just can't afford it. Don't let this happen to you. If you find you are unable to afford your medication, speak with your doctor and pharmacist about alternatives and other ways you can save on this out of pocket expense.
You can also compare prices at several local pharmacies to make sure you are getting the lowest price possible. A prescription savings app is a great way to do this. You can type in the medication you need, and it will generate a list of prices for the pharmacies in your area.
USA Rx has created the first free mobile app that allows you to search, view, and compare prescription drug prices at leading discount pharmacies in your neighborhood. It helps you put those savings right into your hand and back into your pocket.
So, before you pay exorbitant prices on your medication this new year, make sure to use the prescription savings app to ensure you are getting the absolute best price.