Making A Choice

Do you have a habit of popping pills whenever you don't 'feel too well'? Mildly high temperature, stomach ache, a sneeze or two - do you find yourself in front of your medical cabinet when faced with these situations? Medicines are not shampoos that are for frequent use. Medicines are targeted to heal our discomfort and make us feel better when we are sick. What is more important is that we know what medicine to choose for which specific discomfort.

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This site is not your virtual doctor. Its aim is to inform you about medications so you can ask the right questions to your doctors. This site will help you judge OTC or normal medication, herbal, homeopathic or allopathic on your own and know their pros and cons before administering it on yourself.

As you go through the site, you will find yourself becoming more and more aware of the potential benefits and side effects of all chemicals that you consume, orally or otherwise, in the form of pills, capsules, tablets and syrups.

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One important thing to remember is the way you consume a medicine or a drug plays a big role on its effectiveness. But that's not all, coordinating your medical habits with your eating, sleeping and other daily habits combined with the right dose goes a long way in making the drug effective, efficient and productive. Medicines, if not used properly, can act in a contrary manner in your system causing more harm than good. It may give you bad side effects; worse, sometimes it can even get fatal.

Here is a list of things to look out for before randomly playing doctor!

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Tips for taking medicines

  • Once your doctor has handed you the prescription, double-check with him/her about the timings for medication. Your doctor may have jotted that down, but for your convenience ask him/her to explain to you each timing meticulously so you can make a mental note.
  • Once you have the timings, note them down in your calendar.
  • Ask your doctor to tell you about each side effect of each medicine before you start with them. Sometimes it helps to ask what the worst effect can be so that if you get one, you won't be alarmed unnecessarily.
  • If you are already on medication, tell your doctor what medicines have you been taking (prescriptions and OTC), why have you been taking them and for how long. Doctors need to be 100% sure about your medical history.
  • Each time you take a medicine, strike that dose off from your calendar so you won't double-dose yourself.
  • Strictly follow the directions on the label. DO not take more or less than mentioned there.
  • In case you face a side effect that you were not expecting or that your doctor didn't warn you of, let him/her know immediately. In case the medicine makes you feel extremely sick, stop taking it and see your doctor.
  • Medicines are designed to follow a specified course. Especially antibiotics. So even if you get 100% better, don't stop taking the medicine midway. Wait till the course is over.
  • Your medicine is meant for you and you alone. If someone you know has the same symptoms of illness, you must not share your medicine with that person. Similarly, you must never take medicines that are prescribed for someone else even if you happen to have the same 'illnesses'.
  • Throw away the medicine if it has crossed the expiry date.

Taking medicines during pregnancy

Medicines must be taken with extra care during pregnancy as whatever you take passes from your blood to the baby's blood. It is best to avoid OTC drugs.

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If you had already been under prescribed medication before pregnancy you must ask your doctor if you can continue with the same medicines or not. Your doctor will do a careful analysis of the drugs and tell you if it is safe for the baby. The first trimester is especially crucial as this is the time when your baby undergoes the major developmental phase. Never take any medication without the knowledge of your gynecologist or doctor even if it appears to be a pill to snub your runny nose.

Again, if your doctor prescribes you medicines, be sure to ask him about side effects, risks and symptoms of discomfort if any. Pregnancy is a stage where hormones play havoc in the system so it is important to be aware of all risks than to be shocked at a simple side-effect and go hyper about it.

Never neglect your medicinal course and follow your doctor's advice to the 'T'. Remember, if you stay healthy so will your baby.

Pregnancy and safe medications

Generally pre-natal vitamins are regarded completely safe to be taken during pregnancy. However, it is best to consult your doctor about taking medications during this period however 'healthy', 'organic' or 'herbal' the medicine claims to be. OTC medication is generally avoided during pregnancy.

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The best way to be is to stay as far away as possible from medicines during pregnancy. Over dependence on medicinal supplements hampers the natural development of the baby.

Taking medicines safely

It is extremely important to keep an ongoing record of your medicinal courses at hand while taking medicines. Make a list of everything you are taking and their timings. Be sure to include painkillers, vitamins, antihistamines etc. Keep this list in your wallet or pocket or pin it up on a soft board in your room.

Make sure your doctor knows all about your medical history including the ones that you are taking now. He/she should be aware if some other doctor has prescribed you any medicines in the past and whether you are still taking them or not.

If you have allergies from some medicines let your doctor know about it.

Even if your doctor has written you a long and detailed prescription, it is still equally important to check the label of the medicine that you would be taking. By doing that you will fulfill two objectives: see if the medicine is within its expiry date and: see if you are taking the correct dosage that's meant for you.

If a pill is too large to swallow you may break it into two halves but make sure that you take the two halves one after the other. The two halves still constitute one dose and not two separate doses. Taking them as two separate doses will reduce its effectiveness.

Remember, medicines, on their own are ineffective unless taken within prescribed guidelines. Follow these little rules and stay healthy and happy!

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