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Monday, February 26, 2007

Best Practices for Drug Prescriptions in Diabetes


Major therapeutic agents for the control of diabetes work safely and effectively only if used within rather narrow limits. A missed dose, an extra tablet, ill-health in an unrelated aspect, and other drugs can all affect your wellness dramatically.

All drugs for diabetes have to be taken with great care. You must not merely remember exactly when and how much to take, but you should be aware of possible side-effects and essential precautions as well.

It is nearly impossible for a patient to remember the complex instructions which should accompany every prescription by a doctor. That is why you should insist on written communication, in a hand and a language which you can read and understand. Each prescription is an important part of a medical record, so it is best to make copies for your files. Pharmacies may wish to preserve original prescriptions for their own records.

Here is a check-list of everything you should know, and information to which you should have immediate access at all times, before you start taking medicine to manage diabetes:

1. The chemical names of all active ingredients in drugs prescribed for you. Some doctors may prefer to prescribe brands, but you should know the generic names of drugs chosen for you.

2. The precise dose, timing, and sequence, in which medicines are to be taken.

3. Side-effects which are likely, others which are possible, and what you should do about them.

4. A list of all drugs which may interfere with your treatment.

5. Conditions in which your prescription needs changes.

6. Precautions related to pregnancy if you are a lady of child-bearing age.

7. How the medicines should be stored and what you need to do when you travel to a new place.

8. What you should do if you miss a dose, and what you must do in case you take too much of a drug, or repeat a dose by oversight. This also applies to a child or any other person accessing your medicines, and taking some of it in error.

9. Diet and exercise guidelines which have to accompany your drug regimen, and what you should do if you are forced to make deviations.

I can provide you with all this information if your physician refuses to do so. Just let me know the details of point 1 above. (Chemical names of medicines you have been prescribed).


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