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FOX Medical Team

Tips on avoiding medication mistakes

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ATLANTA -

Many of us take our medication as soon as we wake up without giving it a second thought. For a lot of us, it's prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins and herbs. The FOX Medical Team's Beth Galvin says that combo can open the door for dangerous mistakes.

Georgia Poison Center Director Dr. Gaylord Lopez says too many people don't know enough about the medications they're taking.

"A lot of times, they know the disease state they are trying to handle, 'I take my diabetes pill, I take my heart pill, I take my blood pressure pill,'" Lopez said. "But often times they may not know exactly what the name of that product is.  The dose.  And frankly, all they know is they've got to take the one of this, the one of the other"

That confusion can lead to problems. Each day the Georgia Poison Center gets calls about seniors who may have taken the wrong pill or a double dose.
 
"When you get to that age where you're taking a lot of medicine, a lot of those medicines are really powerful, and even just double-dosing a particular medication may lead to problems," Lopez said.

Pill boxes are convenient, but Dr. Lopez says it's safer to keep each medication in its original container with the dosing instructions. When it's time for your meds, check the label and make sure you're taking the right drug.

"We've seen older folks take their spouse's medication by accident," Lopez said.

The next time you see your doctor or pharmacist, make a list of the medications you're taking and take it with you.

If you've got a question:  don't be afraid to ask.

If you miss a dose of medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist what you should do.

If you're worried you've taken more than the recommended dose or you don't feel well after taking the medication, call the Georgia Poison Center. Their hotline is open 24-7 and they can answer any questions you might have. Their number is 1800-222-1222.

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