"Smart Medicine" Workshop

smart medicine.pngWho can best answer your medication-related questions? Your doctor? A pharmacist? The Internet?
What are the best times/conditions to take specific medications?
How are pills, capsules and tablets identified without the benefit of original packaging or bottles?
What information should be included in an accurate medication/supplement list in case of emergency or in preparation for a health appointment?

Attend this workshop and learn how to be “smart” about all things medication-related!

Who can best answer your medication-related questions?

  • Your doctor (nurse, healthcare provider)
  • A pharmacist
  • The Internet

Credible information can be received from all three places, but remember that everyone is unique and only healthcare specialists (pharmacists, doctors, nurses) are trained to apply information to specific people and their unique medical histories

Medication Errors: Cut Your Risk With These Tips (Mayo Clinic)

What are the best times/conditions to take specific medications?

Remember, medication is all about chemistry! READ the directions before taking any medication. Common directions include:

  • take on an empty stomach (2 hours before or after eating)
  • take with a meal (or "when stomach is full")
  • take with a full glass of water (8 oz)
  • avoid grapefruit juice or citrus when taking this product
  • take with milk (or take without milk or dairy)
  • avoid certain activities while taking medicine (don't operate heavy machinery)
  • take at a specific time (bedtime, morning or afternoon)
    • timing when you take medications is called chronotherapy

For more information:
Using Medications Safely (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists--ASHP)
Timing When to Take Your Daily Medications (AARP)
Medicines: Common Questions Answered(NIH)

Reading medication labels

Prescription Medicine Label image and short video (Wisconsin Literacy, Inc.)
How to Read an Over-the-Counter Medication Label (ASHP)
Over the Counter (OTC) Drug Labels: Tips for Preventing Unintentional Poisonings(NCPC)

How to identify pills, capsules and tablets

drug_image_Unit6.jpgDrugs (pills, capsules and tablets) can be identified by imprint codes (the letters and numbers on a drug), shape, and color

Pill Identification Tool (RxList)

Pill Identifier (drugs.com)

Pillbox (National Library of Medicine)

Sample medication/supplement Lists

When creating a medication/supplement list, it is important to not only include the medication name, dosage and how/when you take it, but to also include WHY you take the medicine (for what condition/disease). You should provide an updated MASTER list (including all medications and supplements) to all of your healthcare providers and to every pharmacy that you utilize. Clear communication and sharing will help prevent drug interactions or overdoses.

My Medicine List (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists--ASHP) PDF available for download in English and Spanish

Universal Medication Form (ISMP--Institute for Safe Medication Practices) PDF attached for download

For more tips on medication safety including running drug interactions, attend the Drug Interactions Workshop

Drug Interaction Workshop

drug_interactions.jpgDo I take this medication with food or without?
Can I drink (alcohol, citrus juice, milk) with these meds? Does this medicine react with other supplements or medications that I’m already taking?

Learn to run drug interactions quickly and accurately. Find the answers to these and other medication-related questions by attending this workshop!

Medication Quick Facts

  • Nearly 1/3 of US adults take 5 or MORE medications
  • ADE = adverse drug event
  • Every year, ADEs account for:
      100,000 hospitalizations
      700, 000 ER visits
  • ADEs affect nearly 5% of all hospitalized patients and even higher numbers of ambulatory patients
  • The above data is from the AHRQ Patient Safety Primer: Medication Errors

    Drug & Pharmacy Websites


    small yellow star.jpg"Best Bet" resources are indicated with this yellow star

    CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service
    Includes information on new drug therapies in research and those recently approved by the FDA

    small yellow star.jpgConsumer drug information from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
    The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) maintains a collection of educational materials on topics related to buying and using medicine safely. They include brochures, articles, pamphlets, posters, public services announcements, and more.

    Maintained by the National Library of Medicine, this site provides high quality drug information including FDA approved labels (package inserts). It is designed to supply health information providers and the public with a standard, comprehensive, up-to-date, look-up and download resource of medication content and labeling as found in medication package inserts

    A drug information database for consumers and medical professionals, providing information about prescription and over-the-counter medications, treatment notes for specific diseases and conditions, and topical articles and news related to pharmaceuticals

    Herb Research Foundation (HRF)
    A nonprofit research and educational organization focusing on herbs and medicinal plants

    Johns Hopkins Antibiotic Guide
    The Antibiotic Guide is a "decision support tool" intended to provide clinicians with concise, digested, timely information about the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. The information is arranged so that it is clinically useful at the point of care

    small yellow star.jpgMEDLINEplus National Library of Medicine
    Information on thousands of prescription and over-the-counter medications provided through two drug resources -- MedMaster, a product of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the USP DI Advice for the Patient, a product of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP)

    Medscape Multi-Drug Interaction Checker
    Use the search field to look up prescription or OTC drugs, and herbal supplements then add all of your medications to view interactions

    RxList - The Internet Drug Index
    Contains a database of approximately 5,000 product names that is updated regularly including professional monographs derived from FDA approved labeling and patient-oriented monographs. Has a pill identifier and an interaction checker section

    small yellow star.jpgSafeMedication.com
    Easy-to-read information on more than 800 drugs sponsored by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Provides tips on taking medicines safely and has a downloadable "My Medication List" for keeping track of all the necessary information on medications, herbs & supplements that you take

    ✔ Drug Interactions in Micromedex

    Micromedex Health Care Series 
    MICROMEDEX Healthcare Series provides full-text information supporting clinical care decisions including: drug monographs and evaluations, drug dosages and drug interactions, drug product identification, reproductive risks, toxicity management, alternative medicine/herbal preparations information, acute/emergency care guidelines, drug, disease and condition information for patients, laboratory test information, dosage calculators, nomograms, and references

    Many drug-related resources are located within the point-of-care clinical database, Micromedex. **Accessing Micromedex from on campus is automatic. Access from off campus requires last name and library barcode**

    interactions tab.jpg
    To run a drug interaction in Micromedex, click on the Drug Interactions tab located at the top of the main page

    entering drugs.jpg

    • Enter drugs one at a time.
    • The database will suggest medications under the search box.
    • Make certain to select (or type) the correct drug name
    • If you are not certain of the spelling, check your medication bottle or contact your healthcare provider
    • Many drugs have similar spellings
    • Use the arrow buttons to add or delete drugs from your list
    • You can include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, & supplements in your search
    • Click on the Add Allergies button and enter allergies (shellfish or penicillin for example)
    • Select the submit button when you have added all medications and any allergies

    interaction results_0.jpg

    • Use the tabs acros the top to select type of interaction such as drug-drug or ethanol (alcohol)
    • For all interaction types, scroll down the results list
    • Severity rated as: contraindicated (should not be used), major, moderate, minor, unknown
    • Documentation (in the medical literature): excellent, good, fair, unknown
    • click on linked titles for more information and references

    DISCLAIMER: Remember to discuss all findings with your pharmacist and healthcare providers. Do NOT "practice without a license"--refer all questions and concerns to medical professionals! They can review results and apply them to your unique medical case.

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