News

Unsure about your medication?

Monday, April 01, 2019

Unsure about your medication?

Here’s a question: the last time you saw the doctor or pharmacist, were you able to tell them about all the prescription drugs you are currently taking? What about over-the-counter medications? Supplements? When you start to think about it, the list can be long and it’s easy to leave something out.

And that’s a problem. In fact, every year in British Columbia, the Drug and Poison Information Centre receives 26,000 calls1 about poisoning. Many of these cases can be resolved over the phone, but almost 4,000 drug poisoning cases2 require hospitalization and approximately 500 are fatal.3 Further, one-quarter of these serious cases affect adults aged 55 and over.2,3

Taken as directed, these drugs are typically safe. However, issues could arise if we mix medications without a second thought. Different chemical compounds can sometimes interact with each other, or even with certain foods and drinks. These interactions could lead to poisoning, and cause serious illness and injury.

This April, we're partnering with Preventable and London Drugs to remind British Columbians about the importance of approaching multiple medications with caution – even over the counter drugs.

One of the most effective measures against mixing medications is to carry a list of all the prescription medications you take, as well as any over-the-counter medicine, vitamins, minerals and herbal products.

Your doctor or pharmacist can review the list with you and make sure there are no dangerous interactions. Ask your doctor and pharmacist questions: what is the name of this drug? What is it for? Why am I taking it?

Unclear about how your medications might interact with each other? Don't assume everything will be OK—ask your pharmacist and be sure.

Download this free card or pick one up at a participating London Drugs store and keep it in your wallet for your next visit.

 

References:

  • 3.BC Vital Statistics, Ministry of Health, BCIRPU Injury Data Online Tool, 2017.
 

Tags