Are you taking your meds like everybody else?

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    It It may sound simple, but there are certain rules so that the effect of the drug is not affected.

    If there is anything very common in people’s lives, it is the act of taking medication. And we’re not just talking about patients with blood cancer or any other type of cancer. All people get sick at some point, need supplements, or even, in the case of women, use oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. The fact is, whatever the purpose, the drug must be ingested in the right way for it to be truly effective. To help solve this problem, we asked for the collaboration of two highly experienced professionals: hematologist Monika Conchon and nurse Eloise Borriel Vieira, professor at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and coordinator of the Abrale care committee.

    With the following tips, we can do the right thing when it comes to medication, even if we don’t even suspect we are doing something wrong.

    1 – Is it permissible to take the medicine with milk or another drink?

    Not all medications can be taken with fluids. For example, ferrous sulfate should not be ingested with milk and dairy products, as it decreases the bioavailability of iron. Imatinib mesylate should only be taken with water. Therefore, to avoid making mistakes, the indication is to always take it with water.

    2 – Can I take the drugs dry, without liquid?

    Not bad, however, not ideal. In addition to being uncomfortable, absorption can start in the esophagus, which has a different pH in the stomach, which can lead to changes in action.

    3 – Is it better to take it before or after eating (when asked not to take it on an empty stomach, of course)?

    The ideal is after eating, but if it is just before you start eating, there is no problem.

    4 – Are there foods or drinks that can positively enhance the effect of a medication?

    Certain medications when taken with certain foods may have better absorption, such as ciclosporin when taken with more acidic foods. Another example is Vitamin C, which improves the absorption of ferrous sulfate when ingested at the same time.

    5 – Can foods consumed with remedies harm the effect?

    Yes, certain foods can harm, such as speeding up the metabolism of the liver. This is what happens with American grapefruit, which should not be consumed with certain drugs (such as imatinib). Another important example is alcoholic drinks, which can, very dangerously, improve the action of tranquilizers, leading to a decrease in the activity of the central nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

    6 – Should I be careful when I take several medications on the same day and at the same time?

    Yes. It is interesting to know if pharmacological interactions occur, that is to say if one substance influences the other. We have drugs that are better absorbed in an acidic environment. Omeprazole, for example, can remove this acidity from the stomach and affect its absorption. There are also antibiotics, such as amoxacillin, which can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

    7 – Can I cut a pill in half to make it easier to swallow?

    It depends on the pill. The capsules should not be opened. So-called slow release pills do not. They have a coating that breaks and will absorb the medication faster. For this reason, the general indication is that the tablets should be taken in their entirety, except in children or the elderly. In such cases, the patient can consult the pharmacist to find out which drugs can be cut, marinated or even diluted.

    8 – Certain medicines must be kept in the refrigerator. What is the risk that I take if I do not respect this indication?

    Some substances need a cold environment as they can experience chemical instability at higher temperatures. The risk of not following the indication loses part of the action of the drug.

    9 – What is the best way to store the pills?

    Keep them in their original packaging, designed and designed for correct storage, while preserving their integrity. But there are no contraindications to the use of drug separation boxes.

    10 – Even with a prescription, do you need to read the leaflet?

    Yes and always! Each drug is different and the label contains all of its specifications and contraindications. Reading it is the best way to avoid making mistakes when taking a medication.

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