Wise Health Care Choices  »  Medications

Things to tell your doctor

  1. Things you have had an allergic reaction to.

  2. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

  3. If another doctor is also treating you.

  4. If you have diabetes or kidney or liver disease.

  5. If you use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.


Safe use of medications

  1. See that your doctor has an up-to-date list of all the medicines you take. This includes prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) ones, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Keep an up-to-date list in your wallet.

  2. Ask your doctor these questions: What is the medicine for? When should I take it? How long do I need to take it? Should I take it with or without food? Can I crush the pill or open up the capsule if I can’t swallow it whole? Write the answers down.

  3. Give a list of all medicines and supplements you take to your local and mail order pharmacist. Harmful mixtures with other drugs and with foods can be identified.

  4. Get prescribed medicines from a licensed pharmacy.

  5. Keep medicines in their original containers or in ones with sections for daily doses.

  6. Let your doctor know about your past reactions to certain medicines. As some people age, they may be more sensitive to some medications, such as painkillers or sedatives.

  7. Ask about the possible side effects of a medication. Find out what you should do if you have any.

  8. Ask if you can drink alcohol while taking the medication(s). Alcohol can lessen the effects of some medicines. Other medicines, such as sedatives, can be deadly when used with alcohol.

  9. Don’t take someone else’s medication.

  10. Safely discard unused and expired medicines. Use a community drug take-back program. Or, take medicines from their containers and mix them with used coffee grounds or kitty litter. Put this in a sealable bag and place it in the trash.

  11. Try to reduce the need for some medications, such as sleeping pills or laxatives. A warm bath and a glass of milk might help you fall asleep. Having more fiber in your diet can reduce or replace the need for a laxative. Check with your doctor on ways other than medicines to help treat your problem.

  12. Even if you feel better, don’t stop taking a prescribed medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Also, don’t skip doses.

Health Risks of Ritalin and Adderall

Do you or someone you know take Ritalin or Adderall to stay awake longer, or to be more alert? Know the risks involved.

  1. Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed in standard doses for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Both drugs are classified as Schedule II drugs under the Controlled Substances Act – They are approved for medical use but also have a high abuse and/or addiction potential. Other Schedule II drugs are morphine, cocaine, pentobarbital, oxycodone, alphaprodine, and methadone. {Note: Possession and distribution of a schedule II controlled substance is a felony.}

  2. These drugs have the same type of effect on the brain as other amphetamines like crystal methamphetamine.

  3. They are not safer than using cocaine, as some students think. Abuse of Ritalin and Adderall can cause dangerous side effects, especially when snorted. These include:

  4. -Anxiety

  5. -Psychotic episodes

  6. -Breathing problems from destroyed tissue in the nose, sinuses and lungs

  7. -Nosebleeds

  8. -High blood pressure and circulation problems

  9. -Irregular or rapid heartbeat

  10. Once addicted, withdrawal symptoms, similar to cocaine withdrawal, occur when stopping. These include:

  11. -Appetite loss and weight loss

  12. -Extreme agitation

  13. -Restlessness

  14. -Insomnia

  15. -Dizziness

  16. -Severe depression

  17. -Psychosis

  18. -Impotence

  19. -Death, in extreme cases