Medications are often deemed necessary in the treatment or prevention of symptoms, conditions, or diseases. These medications may include prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and minerals, health or nutritional supplements, and herbal supplements. It may also include medications you receive directly from physicians such as IV medications or radioactive or device implants.
Having an updated list gives you the ability to help your health professionals give the best care possible. The advice and recommendations they give to you can only be based on the information they are provided – both in standard appointments and in medical emergencies.
You are often the best source of this critical information for yourself and for those under your care. It is also helpful for family members who may need to step in quickly to provide support or information to medical professionals on your behalf.
So, what information should be organized?
- ALL medications
- Dosage (how much you take), frequency (when you take them), special instructions (such as with food or at bedtime), how administered (such as by pill, cream, or inhaler), pharmacy/store where purchased, and prescribing provider for the medication.
- Medications that have been discontinued – note when and for what reason
- Insurance information for medication coverage
- Allergies to medications (and otherwise) – with the reactions (such as causes hives, etc.)
- Vaccinations – dates and any potential reactions
Once organized, make sure the information remains up-to-date and accurate. Provide the information to those who may need to speak on your behalf or the behalf of someone in your care. Keep the information in a safe but easily-accessible place to be used as needed.