If you have questions about your medications or any over-the-counter and herbal products you may be taking, you should discuss these with your doctor and pharmacist (because they are the professionals who know you the best).
When this isn't practical, however, there is a service for Albertans that provides prescription, over-the-counter and herbal drug advice to people anywhere in Alberta, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is provided by health professionals in cooperation with Alberta Health Services. There is no charge for this service.
You can reach them by calling: 1-888-944-1012 or visit the PADIS - Poison and Drug Information System website.
USING MEDICATIONS WISELY
- take your medications as prescribed, don't skip doses
- if you have trouble remembering to take (or if you have taken) your medication, try to take them at a set time each day and record them on a calendar. Explore some of the pre-packaged pill options with your pharmacist or buy a pill tray that you can fill out for a week ahead of time.
- talk to your pharmacist or other health professional about what to do if you miss a dose
- if you are having unpleasant side-effects, don't stop taking your medication on your own - discuss the issue with your doctor(s)
- NEVER stop taking corticosteriod drugs, such as Prednisone, abruptly (these drugs must be tapered before stopping)
- store your medications in a cool, dry place and check expiry dates
- follow instructions about timing of medications and whether to take them on a full or empty stomach
- keep a written record of your medications with you at all times for quick reference in an emergency
- explore some emergency identification options so that health professionals will know that you have lupus and what medications you are taking in case of an emergency. This is especially important if you take corticosteriod medications like Prednisone.
- check with your doctor, pharmacist or PADIS about whether it is safe to take any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbal and natural remedies
- if you take narcotic medications for pain, read the article "Opioid Pain Medications' in the Spring 2010 Lupus Courier Newsletter and view the American Chronic Pain Association videos on - Using Opioids Safely.
MEDICATIONS USED TO TREAT LUPUS
The American Lupus Foundation website provides good basic information about the drugs that can be used in the treatment of lupus:
- monoclonal antibodies
'Coping with Prednisone (and Other Cortisone-Related Medicines): It May Work Miracles, but How Do You Handle the Side Effects?' (2007) by Eugenia Zukerman and Dr. Julie R. Ingelfinger M.D.
A must read for anyone who requires this important medication for the treatment of their lupus.
NOTE: We have this book in the LSA Lending Library and it is available in many of Alberta's public libraries.
MedLine Plus Drug, Supplement and Herbal Information Database - (US National Institutes of Health). You can use this database to find out more about the medications you are taking (e.g. what they do, precautions and common side-effects).
DRUG ADVISORIES and WARNINGS
Health Canada - Drugs and Health Products. Includes drug advisories, warnings, recalls and information about adverse reactions.