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Does Your Family Know What Medications You Take?

Does Your Family Know What Medications You Take?
By Kristina James
Published by Ruby

Ruby's online tools and app helps you organize your medical bills and save money.

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Lightening the load

People often keep their health and medical information private, but what if this privacy is actually putting your health at risk? It’s not uncommon to require more medication as you age, and keeping track of it all on your own can be daunting. By letting your loved ones know what medications you are currently taking, it can help you stay organized and allow them to assist you in the event of a medical emergency.

 

How it helps

When your family is up to date on your medications, they can support you as you care for yourself. The first step is studying up. Medications often come with a long list of potential side effects, and when your loved ones are aware of them, they can help you recognize symptoms. While no two medications are the same, the Family Caregiver Alliance provides a list of symptoms that may indicate that you are experiencing a medication-related problem and require medical attention.

Having this information accessible is also crucial to your doctor. In Harvard Health Publishing, emergency medicine doctor, Dr. Ouchi explains that “it helps when you have a medications list, because some can have side effects. For example, digoxin to treat abnormal heart rhythm and heart failure can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and stomach upset. But if you don’t carry a medication list, I wouldn’t know to check for that.”

 

In Case of Emergency

Having a list of your medications in the event of an emergency can be helpful. But if you are incapacitated for any reason, you may be unable to communicate this information verbally or even access a list from your purse or pocket. Your family is often one of your most important advocates in this situation, and the more information they have, the more they can help.

For example, if you experience a drug-interaction (defined by the Pharmacology Education Project as when one drug affects the outcome of another), your family can be a vital resource. Their knowledge of your medications will empower them to tell your doctor what you are taking, the dosage, why it was prescribed to you, and the name of the doctor who prescribed it. The same applies if you accidentally take too much of your medication, or even if your emergency is completely unrelated to any condition you take medication for. Whatever the case, your doctor needs to ensure that he or she does not give you anything that could cause a drug-interaction. And over-the-counter medications are not off the hook. They can also interact with medication you receive at the emergency room, so make sure they are on the list too.

When your family knows what medications you take, as well as important details about them, they can advocate on your behalf in emergency situations. Sharing this information with them can ensure that you receive the best care possible, and maybe even save your life.

 

Let Ruby help.

We know that your privacy is important and that your health is even more important. That’s why we have created a tool called the Medical Information Kit where you can securely store vital information, like your current medications, and share it wit trusted loved ones. They’ll be able to access your Medical Information Kit from a computer, tablet, or mobile device and communicate your medications and health issues with your doctor even when you cannot. This will grant you crucial time in the event of a medical emergency, and can even save your life.

For a list of other necessities to have on hand in the event of a medical emergency, read Medical Emergencies: Planning for the Unexpected, or get started on your Medical Information Kit now.

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