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Question: Do you have any advice on how to manage all of the medications I take?
Cliff Keltner, a clinical pharmacist affiliated with Sharp, responds:
Taking medication with food or not?: It’s always important to understand whether your medicine can be taken with food or is best to be taken on an empty stomach. Some medications are better absorbed with food while others have a limited absorption or do not get in your bodies quite as well if you take it on an empty stomach.
Alcohol interactions: Alcohol may interact with certain medications, especially medications that cause sedation or make you sleepy. In the elderly population, certain populations have an increased risk of falling if they become overly sedated.
Is cutting or splitting medication okay?: Cutting or splitting medication is very common and sometimes you need to do that to get the right dose amount of medication or just make it easier for someone to swallow that tablet, but not all medications can be split or crushed. This can be very dangerous especially in medications that are used to deliver the drug over a long period or extended release tablet. You might get a large dose of the medication all at once.
Reading small prescription labels: If a patient has difficulty reading prescription labels since they do come in pretty small print, most pharmacies can print them in a larger font or print for your patient. Another option that some patients do is they have their family member or caregiver write the name of the medication and what it’s used for and how to take it and write it on a piece of paper and rubber band it to the medication bottle itself.
Opening medication: If a patient is having difficulty opening their medication, one option is asking the pharmacy to fill the medication in a non-child resistant cap. It’s a very common request and most pharmacies can make sure that all your medications come in an easy open container.