Several ideas apply to ALL MEDICINES. Terminology should be clarified. Medicine, Pharmaceutical, and Drug, in my mind are equivalent.
The term “drug” is pejorative, and I try to use it so. The term “Pharmaceutical” is too long, leaving me with “medication”.
There are some Practical points. You should look at your prescription when you first get it, to make sure it is the right one. Yes, pharmacists rarely make some mistakes. They are human.
You should ask the Pharmacist if she knows WHERE the drug was manufactured. Foreign countries, especially China and India, are less reliable, and the USA is safer. The original Brand Name drugs are more often domestically produced, but even these are being “offshored”.
Next, check the prescription date and expiration date.You should get a ” SHELF LIFE” (the difference between the two) of about 2 years, otherwise, you might ask the pharmacist the next time to give you the “best dating” in his stock.
Store your medications in a cool, dark, dry place in order to prolong their life. Light, heat and moisture degrade most compounds. Remember the O.J. Simpson case? Part of the reason he was acquitted is that a critical DNA sample was stored in a plastic bag, which retained moisture, rather than a paper bag, which is recommended because paper is porous, and allows moisture to escape.
You should follow the suggested TIME to take the medication, because there is almost always an optimal time to take a given medication.
CHRONOPHARMACOLOGY is an emerging field, which is finding that more than 50% of medications are TIME SENSITIVE in their effect in the body. This is an unimportant, academic consideration for most Patients, given the high THERAPEUTIC WINDOW (dosage latitude) of most medications, the mild illness of most patients, and the disinclination of most Doctors to add one more detail onto their already heavy load.
In discussing the medicines in my cabinet and a few other important ones, I will be addressing TIMING.
What about OUTDATED MEDICATIONS? As discussed by the following article from Harvard, the dating is not critical except for liquids, and a few others, like Tetracycline.
This is fortunate, given the expense of medications today. What if I drop a pill on the floor, at home. I usually pick it up and take it. if i just dropped it, unless it is very inexpensive.
What if a pill sticks in your throat, like happens to me a lot? I drink water first, to moisten my throat to make it slipperier.
Next, I take a good sip of water, try to swish it back and go back with my head to accelerate the pill backward, and think confidence. Certain sizes of pills are my nemesis and i have to break them in two.
Please follow Dr. Cs Medicine Cabinet in future postings of DWWR.
In my 88 years, I have had at least a dozen medical problems. Some have gone away on their own, some have been removed surgically, and a few have become CHRONIC, lasting for years, ultimately becoming a part of my life.
I have compiled a list of these and other SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS I have seen as a physician. Over the next year, I will discuss them one by one, appending these vetted articles for further reading.
The ‘CHRONIC COUGH’ will be the first discussed.
As an Allergist, I was involved with coughing all of my adult life. If my patients did NOT have asthma, they usually coughed from mucus pouring down the back of their throat (post-nasal drip), from their allergic nasal condition (allergic rhinitis), or sometimes from the associated SINUSITIS drainage.
Asthma was a much more common cause of Chronic Cough for my Patients, sometimes theIr main problem. All asthmatic have a chronic inflammation of their breathing tubes(bronchi), and the resulting BRONCHITIS irritates the airway nerve endings, causing Cough.
Without enough narrowing of the airways to cause wheezing, this is called “cough equivalent asthma”. With the addition of airway narrowing (constriction) to the above situation, ASTHMA results.
There is added shortness of breath (dyspnea), and the cough becomes the “tight” wheezy cough of full-blown Asthma.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) may be a residue of long-term asthma, but commonly results from cigarette smoking. Where loss of alveolae (air sacs) predominates, dyspnea (shortness of breath) is more common.
Where bronchial tube inflammation is more prominent, mucus and cough result. This cough is useful in clearing the mucus; a USEFUL COUGH (although my Patients did not always appreciate their friend, which could be bad enough to cause hernias or incontinence).
Gastro-esophageal reflux is a chronic condition where stomach contents are not retained in the stomach by the G-E Sphincter ( a type of “purse-string” Gate), but spill(reflux) up, when not restrained by gravity, at NIGHT. The ACIDIC STOMACH CONTENTS burn the esophagus on the way up(heart burn), and are often aspirated into the airways during sleep, causing inflammation and COUGH.
There are many other less common CHRONIC LUNG ( pulmonary) DISEASES (conditions) such as sarcoidosis, bronchiectasis, interstitial pneumonitis, TB, and cancer, that can be diagnosed by imaging (X-Ray, etc.). Heart failure can also cause cough, as can blood pressure medication (ACE inhibitors).
Smoking is an obvious cause; chronic smoking, chronic cough. Smokers know what is causing their cough, and usually don’t bother coming to the Doctor unless they cough up some blood, or develop one of the myriads of diseases caused by their habit.
If you have a chronic cough, check with your Primary Care Doctor, who may refer you to an Allergist or Pulmonologist. The following article will be useful to your understanding of cough, and will provide a LIST OF QUESTIONS the DOCTOR will likely ask you.