Tips for Improving Migraine Medication Safety
While taking daily and treatment medications may feel like old hat for those of us who've been living with migraines for many years, we can never become complacent about medication safety. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Always keep your medication away from children. Even if there are no children living in your home using the safety bottles is a good habit to develop. Many migraine treatment medications don't come in child-safe packaging, so be careful about how you store them.
Consider keeping your controlled prescription medication locked up. I know no one wants to think someone in your life might steal your pain medication, but it happens. Why take the chance?
Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about how to take your medication. If you are unclear, don't make assumptions. Call and ask for clarification. Here are the things you need to know:
- Medication name
- What condition the medication treats
- How and when to take it
- Common side effects
- How to handle side effects
- What to do if the side effects seem intolerable (Going off a medication without your doctor's supervision can be extremely dangerous.)
Keep all your doctors in the loop about everything you are taking. Not only prescription medications, but also vitamins, supplements and herbs. Certain medications have dangerous interactions or can make other medications you take less effective. For advice on an easy way to maintain this information, check out this recent blog post: Doctor Patient Communication: Set up your own migraine summary document.
Using the same pharmacy to fill all your prescriptions is also an important way of reducing the chances of dangerous drug interactions. Your pharmacist serves as another check for making absolutely sure the medications you're taking are appropriate and safe.
Store all your medications in a dry place with a moderate temperature. A room that's too humid, hot or too cold can reduce the effectiveness of your medications.
Never crush, break or split your pills unless instructed to do so by your doctor. Some pills can safely be split, but others cannot. It's always best to double check.
Make sure your doctor knows if you're pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Although some doctors feel comfortable with their patients taking triptans during pregnancy, most do not, and there are other medications that are not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Never, ever, ever take medication prescribed to someone else or give someone else medication prescribed to you.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?