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Understanding how to properly use medications is key to successfully recovering from spine conditions and to your overall safety. While the plastic prescription bottle clearly states the dosage, so many questions may be left unanswered, including:

  • Will this medication interact with other drugs I’m taking?
  • How do I store this drug?
  • My doctor said I should take this drug every four hours, but the bottle says every six hours—what do I do?

Much can be lost in translation from the time your physician writes your prescription to when your pharmacist fills it. That’s why it’s important to have open clear lines of communication with both your doctor and pharmacist to ensure you know as much as possible about your medication. The 10 tips below will help you advocate for your health in the complex world of prescription drugs.

#1. Tell your doctor about every medicine you take and bring them to your visits. Every person on your health care team, from your primary care physician to your spine surgeon, should know the drugs you’re taking—this includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbs, supplements, and vitamins. If you have an extensive medication regimen, it may be easier for you to bring your medicines with you to your appointments to ensure your medical team clearly understands what you take.

#2. Get to know your pharmacist. You make appointments to see your doctor to discuss your health, but how well do you know your pharmacist? Your pharmacist is a key member of your health care team and should also know every medication you take—even if it’s not a prescription. He or she will keep the information on file to protect against potential drug interactions. As your drug regimen changes, stay safe and organized by updating and reviewing this list with your pharmacist to identify any possible risks.

#3. Alert your doctor and pharmacist to medication allergies and adverse reactions. Even if it was a seemingly mild reaction to a medication, tell your doctor about it. Make sure your pharmacist knows this information, too. He or she will update the pharmacy’s records to provide another layer of protection against sending you home with a drug that could potentially harm you.

#4. Speak up if you can’t read your doctor’s handwriting. Don’t be shy about asking your doctor to rewrite a prescription if you can’t read it. If it’s unclear to you, chances are the pharmacist will have trouble reading it, too.

#5. Clarify questions about refills with your doctor. When your doctor writes your prescription, make sure you understand how many refills you’re getting and that your physician has provided enough refills to cover you until your next visit. Prescriptions and refills are valid for only one year. You should also know that even if you doctor puts refills on your prescription, some insurance companies and pharmacies may decline to permit refills without a new written prescription.

#6. Ask your doctor and pharmacist to describe details of your back and neck pain medicines in plain language. Talking to both your doctor and pharmacist will make you doubly clear on the ins and outs of your medication. Also, this ensures the instructions provided by your doctor were understood by your pharmacist. Below is a list of questions to drive these conversations:

  • What is the medicine for?
  • How should I store the drug?
  • How should I take the medicine and for how long?
  • What side effects are possible?
  • Can I take this medicine with the drugs and supplements I currently take?
  • Do I need to avoid any food, drink, or activities while taking this medicine?
  • For the pharmacist: Will you confirm that the instructions given by my doctor are the same as listed on the drug label?

#7. Get clarity on confusing medication directions. A lot of questions can arise from the simple dosing instructions on a medicine bottle. Does “take six times daily” mean taking a dose every four hours or only during waking hours? If you don’t know, ask your pharmacist.

#8. Ask your pharmacist how to best measure liquid medication.If you’ve been prescribed a liquid medication to manage your back or neck pain, ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure an accurate dose. Using a marked syringe, for example, is a better option than a household spoon.

#9. Have your pharmacist provide written information about your medication’s side effects. One of the essentials of medication safety is knowing when your medication is causing more harm than good. Obtain a list of all possible drug side effects printed from your pharmacist, along with details on what you should do if they occur.

10. Consider pharmacy home delivery or mail service. If getting to the pharmacy is a challenge, you’ll risk not properly adhering to your medication. To keep you on track, explore the possibility of your pharmacy delivering your medications to your home or having them mailed to you. Ask your pharmacy if they have a delivery service or check with your pharmacy insurance plan if you prefer mail service.

Better Health from the Pharmacy and Beyond
Back and neck pain can have a significant impact on your daily life. Fortunately, medications are among the most common nonsurgical treatments for spine conditions—and many patients report reduced pain and a quicker return to activities when they use them as directed. But, medicine can also harm you if it’s not taken properly. Having a good relationship with your doctor and pharmacist is the best way to protect your safety and get the greatest benefit from medications.

SOURCE: https://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/medication/10-back-neck-pain-medication-safety-tips

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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Thank you very much for contacting Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

To best serve your individual needs, please choose from the following options:

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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