Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Do You Know Your Drugs Well Enough?

Many of you know I'm only a few months away from finishing nursing school. As a student nurse, I've become very aware of just how many medications the average American is taking. If you're over 40, it's a very good chance that you're taking one or more medications on a daily basis. I'm only 32 and take one medication every day.

I've seen people in the hospital who were prescribed one medication by their family doctor, another by a specialist, and yet another by a different specialist. Without a national medical records system (something I wish we had), it's easy for medication errors to be made by taking drugs that interact with other prescribed drugs. Often the pharmacy will catch many of these errors, but if you go to different pharmacies, it can be near impossible to check for interactions.

Drugs.com, a comprehensive online drug information guide that I've used many times, is now offering moms an easy place to keep track of all their family's medications in one place. Their recently released tool, MedNotes, provides a free online personalized medication management program that can be used to track the whole family's medication profiles.

On each personal family member profile you create, you can enter the names of all the medications being taken and then register to receive drug safety or interaction alerts to ultimately help reduce dangerous side effects and avoid unwanted drug interactions. In addition, MedNotes will send you new drug and specific condition news released by the FDA or drug makers related to the medications your family members take.

I've seen patients in life-threatening situations due to taking medications that interacted with each other. MedNotes is a great way to take charge of your own healthcare and ensure the medications you (and your family) take are as safe for you as possible.

Hat tip to Mom Central for telling me about this new service!

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