Me, My MS and I

Medication In Profusion

Image: Paul /

A multitude of medications often goes hand in hand with living with MS. It’s important to know the purpose of each of your medications and when and how to take them (such as with or after a meal, or with a glass of water). It can be difficult to remember all of the medications you take as it quickly becomes habit to take the tablets as routine.

The situation may arise where all members of your healthcare team may not be aware of all of the medications you are prescribed if they’ve been prescribed by different people, such as your GP, neurologist, etc.

There are a few tools available to keep track of your medication and to have your medication list on hand in case of emergency. It’s also helpful for you, and anyone who cares for you, to know all of the medications you take and their purpose.

What’s available?

A medication chart to list: name of medication; dosage; and what it’s for. There’s also a one-sided version which you may prefer. It may also be benificial to fold this to credit card size and keep a copy in your wallet / purse. Taking this chart with you to all appointments with your healthcare team, and keeping it up to date, can ensure all members of your healthcare team are kept up to date with all of the medication you are currently prescribed.

The Lions Message In a Bottle scheme is a simple idea designed to encourage people to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form and in a common location – the fridge. Message in a bottle to store in the fridge a list of the medication you take. This is especially handy if you live alone. In the (hopefully never occurring) event that you require paramedic assistance at home, the paramedics are trained to look in the fridge for medication lists, and a sticker provided with the Message In A Bottle stuck on the front of the fridge alerts the paramedics that medication information is located inside. The bottles are free of charge and should be available from your local pharmacy. Further information is avaiable via the above link.

I also find it very useful to keep my repeat prescription list in my purse in the event that I have an accident and paramedics require a list of my medication (especially as I’m often passenger on a motorbike!). The repeat prescription list is very useful as it lists all medications, dose, and frequency. I always have a note attached to it stating I’m also on opioids (stating medication name, dosage and frequency) as they’re not available on repeat prescription so do not appear on the repeat prescription list.

A MedicAlert bracelet or piece of jewellery indicating your illness and prescription medication may also be useful in case of emergency, especially if you’re taking vital medication or medication which reacts with others.

A medication review may be of benefit as you can ask your doctor or pharmacist what each of your medications is for, when and how to take them, if there’s anything else which would benefit you, and afford you the opportunity to discuss any issues you may be having with your medication and how these could be solved. This may be especially beneficial if you are experiencing unwanted side effects, or are unsure of the purpose of the medications you take.

It is also important to report side effects experienced which aren’t reported in the patient information leaflet which accompanies your medications. You can do this via your doctor, pharmacy, or via the Yellow Card Scheme.

By discussing any difficult or troublesome side effects of your medications with your doctor, you take your healthcare into your own hands and have the potential to improve your quality of life by reducing, where possible,  side effects which impact on your life. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you a similar medication with fewer side effects, or advise you on ways to reduce the side effects you’re experiencing.

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