CKD Patients Putting Themselves At Increased Risk Of Hospitalization Because Of Their Medicine

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What you don't know CAN hurt you. Medicines are used to manage symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) such as infections, and helping to relieve pain and suffering. Although medicines used by CKD patients are generally safe when taken as prescribed there are still risks in taking ANY medicine. Each year in the United States injury caused by the use of medication results in over 700,000 visits to hospital emergency departments, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. However, many adverse drug events are preventable. Since CKD patients require a rather heavy drug regimen they should consider reducing their risk of harm by learning about medication safety.

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The more you know about any medication you use, the more you certain you can be that you are using it properly. For each medication you take, whether it's a prescription medication or an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, take note of the medication name, dosage, common side effects, what to do if side effects occur, when to call your doctor and any other special instructions.

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Be sure to store your medications in a safe place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Do not store meds in the bathroom or kitchen as heat and moisture may cause the medication to breakdown. Medications that require refrigeration include Insulin, many types of Eye Drops and Daktacort Cream. Epogen should be stored under refrigeration but do not freeze the medication and do not use any that has been frozen. When transporting the drug, be sure to use an insulated container and a coolant (such as a blue ice pack). Also, be sure to keep Epogen away from light until you are ready to use it as light can destroy the delicate molecules.

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Medication should be left in the original container unless being transferred to an easy dose medicine box. If you are using an old medicinal bottle for another purpose then remove the label to avoid confusion or adverse drug events. This can be done simply by filling the container with boiling water to loosen the glue and tearing off the label.

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It is a good practice for CKD patients to have a list of their medication, when it should be taken and what it is being taken for. If you are taking medication that has not been prescribed then you should immediately notify your Nephrologist or Dialysis Nurse.  It is also important to order your medication when you are down to your last five days' supply so that you do not run out. However, repeat drugs should not be ordered unless they are needed. This will prevent you from stockpiling or hoarding medications which could result in taking old and possibly expired drugs. If you have any questions or concerns about your medication then KidneyBuzz.com recommends immediately talking to your Nephrologist.

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References: 

"Epogen." EMedTV: Health Information Brought To Life.

"Medication Safety: Side Effects, Medication Disposal, Expiration Dates, and More." WebMD.

"Medication Safety Program." Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.