When it comes to taking medications, there are four ways you can suffer serious harm from them:
- Taking too much or too little—In order to be effective, you should take only the dosage you’re prescribed and at the frequency your doctor or pharmacist orders. When you take too much, you may be at risk of overdose, and when you take too little, the medication may have no effect.
- Developing a side effect—All drugs have side effects, and some are worse than others. Unfortunately, the side effects of some drugs can be severe and even life-threatening.
- Developing a drug injury—When pharmaceutical companies don’t report all potential side effects and people get hurt, those injuries and illnesses can be considered drug injuries.
- Having an interaction with another medication or food—When taken together, certain drugs, supplements, and even foods can have different effects on patients than when they are taken separately.
It’s important to be aware of the first three outcomes when you take medications. However, the fourth outcome often depends on patient compliance and accurately completing patient forms and questionnaires. If you take any medications or supplements, be sure to tell your doctor, as they may need to adjust your medications, dosages, or even your diet to accommodate your new prescriptions.
Trust your doctor, be remember—you’re your own best advocate. Keep a list of all the medications you take, and never take over-the-counter pills or even dietary supplements without talking to your doctor first, especially if you take many medications.