SATURDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The hectic pace of the holiday season can make it difficult for people with chronic pain or other persistent health conditions to maintain normal routines and medication schedules. This can put them at risk for missed doses and even medication errors, according to the American Pain Foundation.
But a little advance planning can ensure safe and effective medication use over the holidays, the foundation says.
If you're traveling, make preparations well ahead of time. Create and take a list of all medications with you. It should include the name of each medication, what it's used to treat, the dose and schedule of how often you take it. This list will be important if you have to go to a doctor or pharmacy while traveling.
"If at all possible, make sure your prescription supply is current," Caity Frail, a pharmacist with the National Community Pharmacists Association, said in a foundation news release. "This is especially important for controlled substances as some states won't allow out-of-state refills for these medications. Also, carry a card with contact information for your health-care provider and home pharmacy."
When traveling by train, bus or airplane, always pack needed medications in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost.
Use a pill box, program an alarm or use other reminders to maintain your normal medication regimen.
Remember that alcohol as well as certain foods, beverages, dietary supplements and other drugs can have harmful interactions with medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have family or friends staying with you over the holidays, keep medications safely out of sight and reach.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers medication safety tips.
SOURCE: American Pain Foundation, news release, 2010
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