Understanding medication and its impact is important.
- Medication handling requires great responsibility.
- Improper handling of medication is a threat to an individual’s health and safety.
- This presentation will help you to properly identify and react to medication side effects and interactions.
What is medication?
- Medication helps people become or stay healthy.
- People take medication daily if they have an ongoing or chronic health condition.
For example, if an individual has:
- Diabetes, or
- High Blood Pressure.
Why is medication taken?
The individual you support may take medication to:
- Be cured of an illness.
- Heal faster when injured.
- Feel better due to a chronic health condition.
- The “intended effect” is WHY someone takes a certain medication.
What is a medication side effect?
- A side effect is any change the medication causes, other than the intended effect.
- A side effect may make the individual feel bad or uncomfortable.
- A side effect can be dangerous or life threatening.
What are common side effects?
Common side effects of medication include:
- Feeling tired or sleepy
- Feeling dizzy
- Upset stomach
- Redness on your skin
- Feeling nervous
- Gaining weight
- Dry mouth
How side effects impact the individual you support.
- Side effects can occur any time after taking medication.
- Side effects can disappear shortly after taking the medication. Others can last a long time.
- Side effects can cause physical and/or behavioral changes.
- Side effects can be life-threatening.
Your responsibilities as a supporter include:
- Understanding the medication’s intended effects and side effects.
- Documenting any physical and/or behavioral changes you see in the individual you support.
- Reporting the changes you see to their doctor.
- Following the doctor’s directions.
Ask the doctor about side effects.
- Talk to the doctor about side effects when the doctor orders or changes the medication of the individual you support.
Make sure the doctor:
- Knows about all other medications, vitamins, herbs or other remedies the individual you support takes.
- Knows about any allergies the individual you support has.
What are medication interactions?
- Sometimes medication interacts with other things. This means something causes the medicine to work in a different way. This can be harmful to the individual you support.
Medications interact with:
- Other medications
Identifying medication interactions is critical to an individual’s health and safety.
- Medication interactions can occur between drugs and many common foods and drinks.
- Adverse reactions can be dangerous.
Ask the doctor about medication interactions.
- What does this medication interact with?
- What should the individual I support avoid?
Call the doctor if you suspect the individual you support is experiencing an adverse drug reaction.
Ask the pharmacist.
- About all prescribed medications.
- What the side effects of the medication are.
- If the medication interacts with other medications, foods, drinks, or activities.
- To review the medication information sheet with you and the individual you support.
Follow these simple rules to keep the individual you support healthy.
- Learn about all the medications they are taking.
- Help them to follow the medication’s directions.
- Ask the doctor and pharmacist about the medications and any potential side effects.
- Look for signs of physical and/or behavioral changes in the individual you support.
Get help if you need it.
Call the doctor or pharmacist if:
- You have health questions or concerns.
- You notice any negative physical and/or behavioral effects after administering a medication.
Please check our Common Medications Profile tools to:
- Browse the most commonly prescribed medications.
- Search for information by medication name, use, and type.
- Learn about side effects of specific medications.
- Protect the individual you support from harmful drug interactions.
- Consult these online tools for more information on medication side effects and interactions: