How can a patient take drugs safely?

1. Patients should understand the way drugs work

The way a drug works is usually not singular. A drug may have some untoward secondary reaction(s) unknown at present. Many of the untoward reactions cannot be predicted and may have a dangerous latency, but they may not occur frequently. Probably, the untoward reaction is caused by an overdose of the drug or the hypersensitivity of the patient to the drug, and many of these are unknown. The more we understand the way drugs work, the safer the pharmaceutical drugs are.

2. High-risk people should take drugs cautiously

Understand that every person’s reaction to a drug is different. Some are more likely to be affected by untoward reactions. High-risk people include: old-age people, pregnant women, infants and children, and patients with liver or kidney diseases or multiple diseases. These patients should be more cautious when taking drugs.

3. Be careful of the way drugs interact with other drugs, foods or alcohol

Some drugs may interact with foods, alcohol or other drugs, and result in abnormal reactions. When taking a drug, one should carefully read the instructions of counter reactions or consult a doctor for the safe interaction of prescribed drugs.

4. Follow a doctor’s instructions

When taking drugs, you must follow a doctor’s instructions or the instructions of the drug to prevent untoward reactions. Without the permission of a doctor, you must not increase or alter the drug dose by yourself. You must consult a doctor about the interactions between prescribed drugs or between prescribed drugs and OTC drugs. Importantly, you should ask a doctor if there is any interaction between prescribed drugs and other drugs, alcohol or food.

5. Learn to distinguish danger signs

Some side effects of drugs appear several months or years after taking the drug or after the course of therapy, but many of the side effects are predictable. Some side effects are the danger signals. When such a danger signal appears, the drug being taken must be stopped and the patient should discuss the situation with a doctor. The patient should report the untoward reactions to a drug monitoring agency.

A list of drugs to be taken with caution:

- After taking bimolane or ethylamine, psoriatic patients may develop acute or subacute leukemia, liver cancer, gastric cancer, bladder cancer, squamous epithelium cancer or malignant lymphoma.

- Sedatives such as barbital, diazepam, mepavlon or Librium may cause infant abnormalities.

- Insulin may lead to bone malformation, and taking anti-cancer drugs such as aminopterin and myelosan may have side effects that endanger the body.

- Ritalin, the second degree purchase-controlled drug of the nation, may lead to anorexia, paleness in children, and some patients may suffer from depression.

In China, the morbidity rate of medicine-originated addiction, medicine-originated malformation and other medicine-originated diseases such as blindness, shock, kidney dysfunction and cytometaplasia amounts to as high as 30%.