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Do you know the names of your medications?

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Ladies and Gentlemen, This is a true story. For the ladies in question, I will use fictitious names. Let’s call them Thelma and Barbara.

Thelma just came from her doctor and went to a pharmacy down the road to fill her prescription. When she got there she met Barbara and they started talking. The pharmacist proceeded to fill out their prescriptions.{{more}}

Unfortunately for them, although the prescriptions were for different ailments, the tablets looked identical. When the pharmacist gave Thelma her medication she left it on the counter. Barbara got hers, too, and because they were talking, Barbara also left hers on the counter. When they finished talking and had to say goodbye, Thelma picked up her medication and went home. Little did she realize that she had picked up the wrong set of tablets because they looked exactly the same. So did Barbara.

Now, three days later Thelma was admitted to the hospital with severe chronic ailments that were nearly fatal and Barbara on the other hand had diarrhea for two weeks non-stop.

To make it worse, because she did not bring her medication to the clinic, her doctor prescribed new medication for her diarrhea and asked that she continue using her old medication to treat her other ailment. The doctors could not pin point what was wrong. It required some intensive investigation to finally figure out what had happened.

Now what went wrong here? The first thing that went wrong was a lack of responsibility. The second was a lack of education. Every person has the responsibility to know the names of the pills they are popping into their mouths or the eye drops they are instilling in their eyes.

Just as you always want to know what food is going into your mouth, so should you also want to know what medication you are taking. You are responsible for your disease. Therefore, it is your responsibility to learn the name of your medication. It is also your responsibility to bring your medication to show your doctor. On many occasions when I ask a patient what they are using, I usually get this reply: “Well, I don’t know doc. I take 2 green pills, 1 yellow pill, and 1 blue pill and I forgot them at home.” Sound familiar?

Luckily Thelma and Barbara survived. There are many patients, however, who due to ignorance have suffered or even died from a lack of knowledge of their medication.

Know the name of your medication, read the labels, know what it does, know if it’s not reacting well with you, know if it’s giving you a problem in combination with other things, always bring your medication and let your doctor know. Remember your health is your responsibility. Your doctor is only your guide. You do not want to end up like Thelma or Barbara.

On a more pleasant note…have a Happy Easter ….Until next weekend.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us.

Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210

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