This week in Australia was Be Medicine Wise Week.

When was the last time you reviewed your medications? Do you remember why you are taking them? If you haven’t had a medication review in the past 12 months, you are due to see your GP and have it reviewed.

In clinic, I often come across people who stop and start medications without supervision. Sometimes people increase or decrease their dosage without consulting  their doctor, this is very dangerous. Years ago when I was working in a health food shop I met a lady who had been taking senokot (a very strong laxative) for nearly 40 years, she then stopped it and her bowels were no longer able to function. Through our discussion I eventually discovered that her doctor had told her to take it after an operation. She really only needed it for a couple of days but nobody told her to stop taking it! She couldn’t understand why she was suddenly constipated for the first time in 40 years!!

It is also important to have your natural remedies – vitamin/mineral/herbal/homoeopathic supplements reviewed by a Natural Health Practitioner such as your Nutritionist or Naturopath. Just because they are natural, it doesn’t mean you can safely self-prescribe. This is especially true if you are taking over the counter or prescription medications as well as “natural” supplements. You must have them reviewed by a Health Practitioner to ensure they are safe to take together.

The other common problem is that people often leave left over medications  in their medicine cabinets and it often goes out of date.  I urge you to check the dates of all of your medications and throw away anything that is out of date. If you are unsure, take them to your local pharmacy for advice.  Please assist your parents, grandparents and friends with checking the used by dates as they often can’t read the small print. Medications can be helpful or harmful so BE MEDICINE WISE!