Aspirus | Aspire | Fall 2018

THEY keep our bodies working, help us feel better and sometimes even stop health problems before they start. Medicines are marvelous. But to get the most out of them, health experts say you have to take them safely. “Anytime your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic or other medication, it’s important that you take it as directed. Increasing the dosage will not help you feel better sooner,” said Jessica Bessner, PharmD, director of pharmacy for Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital & Clinics. “Not taking your medications as directed can work against you and even hurt you in the long run.” While following the doctor’s orders is important, Bessner offers the following tips to help you make the most of your medications: Keepyourhealthcare providers informed. Some medicines aren’t safe when taken together. Anytime you’re prescribed a medicine, be sure your provider knows all of the other medications you’re taking, including herbals and other over-the- counter products. Using the same pharmacy for all of your medications may also help you avoid dangerous interactions. Get toknowyour medicine. Be clear about what it is, why you take it, and when and how to take it correctly. You should also ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any foods or activities you should avoid while using the medicine. Followinstructions exactly. Don’t chew, crush or break apart pills unless your doctor says it’s OK. And if you’re taking liquid medicine, be sure to use the dosing device that comes with it. Beawareofpossible sideeffects. They sometimes occur. So it’s helpful to ask your doctor or pharmacist what to watch for—and what to do if problems arise. Don’tshare medicines. Only a doctor can decide what’s safe for you or someone else. Sources: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; U.S. Food and Drug Administration Make themost of your meds Suggestions for smart and safe use Jessica Bessner, PharmD QUESTIONS?SPEAKUP If you have questions or concerns about your medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. To find a provider or pharmacy at an Aspirus location near you, go online to or call the Aspirus Customer Contact Center at 800.474.4707 . Medicine mistakes Multiple prescriptions make it hard to keep doses straight. Visionproblems canmake it hard to read the label. Sideeffects can lead people to skip doses. Cost canmake people cut back on their medicines. Memoryproblems can lead tomissing a dose. Seeingmore thanonedoctor can lead to duplications. Older adults often take their medicines incorrectly. Here are some common reasons: Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; U.S. Food and Drug Administration 13