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My Med Bag campaign helps promote medication safety

Managing and taking your medications correctly is a big responsibility. If you are on multiple medications, you might find yourself struggling to remember how much to take, how often to take it, when you should take each one and why.

What you hear on every prescription medication commercial is true: Medications are more effective when taken properly. However, according to the American College of Preventive Medicine, out of 100 prescriptions written, only 25 to 30 are taken properly and only 15 to 20 are refilled as prescribed.

"Health care providers prescribe medications to help us manage sickness and chronic conditions," says Sandra Morales, RN, MSN, CCM, Shannon Care Coordination nurse coordinator. "For instance, if you have high blood pressure and you stop taking your medication, you are putting yourself at risk for stroke, heart attack and even death."

A preventable problem

Problems with medications are one of the leading factors in hospital readmission and preventable hospitalizations. This fact prompted the Tom Green County Partnership for Better Health to establish the My Med Bag campaign. Local pharmacies are distributing free bags to patients, who can then place all their medications in the bag and take them to every doctor's appointment.

Medications in the bag should include:

  • Prescription medications.
  • Over-the-counter medicines.
  • Vitamins.
  • Herbal supplements.

Your health care provider can review what you are taking, make sure you are taking it correctly, and evaluate whether or not you should continue each medicine.

"Remember to always take each medication as directed," Morales says. "Just because you are feeling better does not mean you should quit taking your medication. Most importantly, never stop taking a medication or change the amount without consulting your health care provider. You should also never use expired medication or a prescription that belongs to someone else."

If you experience side effects from a medication, notify your health care provider immediately. For more information, please visit www.mymedbag.org.

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