I recently volunteered to be part of the psychotherapy team at the psychiatry hospital I currently work in, and during the first group therapy session, I asked the patients if they knew the names of their medications, their effects and their side effects. Their response were quit disturbing. The only knew the number and colour of tablets they receive from the nurses in the wards. They didn’t know the difference between the effects that were expected and the adverse effects. It’s no wonder these same patients are non-compliant with their medication once they are discharged, and end up back on admission a few months later.
I had a chat with the head pharmacist, asking him if they give their patients details on the medication prescribed to them, excluding when and how to take them, and his answer was just as disturbing.
He explained that there are some patients they give little information and some they don’t give any information at all so they don’t scare them with the possible side effects as it could lead them to be non-compliant. He said that although THAT was his major concern, he fears that in other establishments, they withhold information for more dubious reasons. He gave an example of a friend who had a skin condition and saw a dermatologist at a private clinic. The dermatologist prescribed an ointment and the friend was asked for pay N15,000. The tube it came in had no label or information leaflet. Upon investigation, the pharmacist discovered that the label has been removed and the ointment really costs N450.
I’m sure there are many that have been in the same situation. Apart from being duped, there are many dangers in not knowing certain things about medication that has been prescribed to you by a doctor/pharmacist/chemist, self prescribed, or referred by a friend to you.
What’s the name of the current medication you’re taking?
What conditions is the medication used in treating?
What are the effects and the side effects?
What are the substances that shouldn’t be taken with the medication?
If you’re able to answer the above questions, then you’re on the right track, but if you’re not able to, there’s a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. This information isn’t only for medical professionals to know, YOU should also know! YOU should know in detail what you’re ingesting, inhaling or injecting for YOUR safety! Medical professionals make mistakes too, so YOU should always look out for YOURSELF and YOUR FAMILY.
People react to different drugs in diverse ways; some are allergic and some have a pre-existing condition that could lead become fatal if a certain medication is taken. In light of that, here are a few tips for your safety:
- ASK QUESTIONS! You can never ask too many, and all medical professionals should be willing to give you answers.
- Review and keep the information leaflet that comes with your medication. If one isn’t available, do your research on it. I recommend WebMD to look up information on drugs & medication.
- Keep a list of all your medication, including dates taken for reference and medical history.
- If they’re any know drug allergies, always make it a topic of discussion at every meeting with medical professionals prescribing your medication.
“It’s better to the safe than sorry!”