It's just as important for the patient and their family to know what medications they are on, as it is for your doctors. It's a good idea to keep a list yourself and not just rely on the doctors.
Every time my husband or myself go to the doctors they have their little portable computer and ask all of our information that they already have. As annoying as this is to do over and over again, it's a very important part of your medical care. This is especially true for the medications you are taking. Did you know that not all doctors are connected via the health care system? You would think with technology these days that no matter where you go to the doctor they would have access to your records. This is not the case because of health care networks, and HIPPA laws. What do I mean by health care networks? Example, my husband and I have different medical insurance. I have to go to UPMC physicians, they are MOSTLY connected internally but I still find that they have inaccurate and outdated records from time to time. My husband has a different type of insurance and can go to go any doctor he chooses. We also see a lot of specialists, especially my husband. He has his primary care doctor but he also has his mental health physicians, specialists for his heart and his oncologist.
It's important for you to keep track of what medications you are on, and/or a family member for various reasons.
1. The number 1 reason is for drug interactions.
Not all medications can be mixed with other medications. For example, here is one for women. Did you know that if you are on antibiotics and birth control pills, you need a backup protection because antibiotics can make birth control pills ineffective? That's a shocking fact, isn't it? I didn't know that until well I got pregnant with my daughter at 21.
2. Having a list of not only your medications but those of a family member is important in case of an emergency.
Imagine there is an emergency and you suddenly have to remember what medications your family member is on or yourself. A printed list is a great way to take that burden off of you. You can have a list saved for each family member in a central location. A friend of mine shared this story:
3. Another reason to keep track of your medication is that of side effects and drug allergies.
A physician's job is to help keep you healthy, it's impossible for them to remember everything about everyone. Mistakes can happen. Sometimes you are allergic to just one medication. You can also be allergic to everything in that drug family. Example: I have a sensitivity to penicillin that is listed as being allergic but I can take over antibiotics that are in the “cillin” family such as amoxicillin.
4. I started to do this for my husband for his mental health care providers.
He has absolutely no idea what medications he's on. His standard answer when they ask him is “ask my wife”. This is both good and bad. Bad because it's his health, so he should know. Good because at least he knows that I have that information!
5. I am also allergic to iodine injections however iodine applied to my skin to clean it from a severe cut or before surgery is ok.
I'm also allergic to all Sulfa drugs. It's important to not only know what medications you are on, but what the dosage is, and how often you are prescribed to take them. This is important information so that all of your health care providers can work together to make you the healthiest you can be. The idea of keeping track is daunting I know. Don't worry! I have a great free printable you can download and print out to keep track. You can simply keep this list in your purse or wallet so you can remember. It makes filling out the forms in the waiting room faster as well.
Having to take medication every day is no fun, but it doesn't have to be such a daunting task to keep track.