Where to find useful information on medicines, supplements

Where can I get useful information about my medicines and supplements?
Are you looking for information on one of your prescription medicines? Needing to know about which non-prescription medicine works best? Intrigued by a supplement or herbal product, but not sure whether you should try it or not?
If you look around, there is a LOT of information, but it can be overwhelming. And in today's world of “false news," how trustworthy is it? Where can you find "news you can use" about your medicines, over-the-counter remedies, food supplements, and herbal products?
Not that long ago, you would get helpful information about your new medicine from your family doctor at your appointment. The pharmacist at your neighborhood pharmacy would then explain a bit more about it when you picked up your new prescription. If you had questions about your medicine, they usually had the time to point out and explain the important things you needed to know.
Today? You may see two or three different doctors. They often don’t know anything about your other doctors or your other medicines, just what they are treating you for.
Instead of using a local pharmacy, many people have medications mailed out to them by a mail-order pharmacy, saving money because they can get a 90-day supply for the same price as a 30-day supply at
their local pharmacy.
Pharmacists are so busy these days they don’t have much time to come out from behind the counter to advise you on non-prescription products and remedies. You can get help from a clerk or pharmacy technician, but they don’t have the in-depth product knowledge that a pharmacist acquires with years of education and training.
For years, I have seen people flail around looking for accurate, USEFUL information to answer their questions about their prescription medications, non-prescription medicines, ways to treat common issues, as well as vitamins, minerals, supplements, and herbal products. The helpful advice that your local pharmacist and family doctor used to provide is now in very short supply, and you are on your own to find out what you need to know.
I started Medication Insider.com to provide timely information that’s useful and easy to understand. It’s designed to give you a pharmacist to ask those questions that you were too nervous to ask, forgot to ask, or that your doctor didn’t have time to explain to you. Medication Insider has a free newsletter, a blog with posts that answer common questions about medication safety, remedies, food supplements, and herbal products.
Here are some places I recommend for useful information about medicines and supplements:
  1. When You Need to Identify a Pill

I find Google’s search engine to be the BEST way to identify a mystery tablet or capsule. Do your pills look different than they used to? I recommend using Google to double-check whether your medications are what they are supposed to be, despite being a different color or shape.

Here’s how: First, put on your reading glasses. You will probably need them (I know I do!) to decipher that teeny tiny writing on the side of the capsule or the imprint on the tablet. Enter the pill’s color, shape (round, oval, square), whether it’s a tablet or capsule, and any markings you find. If the medication has a slash in it that divides it in half or in quarters, you can add the word “scored” to your description. After hitting the “enter” button, you should get at least one or two options, with a clear photo of each. Compare your mysterious pill to the pictures on the screen.

2. General Information About Medicines and Other Treatments for Medical Conditions

I like WebMD because it is timely and comprehensive. It covers medicines, remedies for common problems, and more. WebMD also sells advertising on their website, which can be distracting.

3. Food Supplements and Vitamins

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website at fda.gov offers accurate and useful consumer-oriented information about food additives, food supplements, vitamins, and minerals. It's an excellent place to find out what various vitamins and minerals do for you and what foods are good sources for them.

4 .Information about Infections

Both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) at CDC.gov and WebMD have timely, interesting, and helpful articles that explain infections like the common cold, influenza, and of course, COVID-19.

5. How Medicines Work and How to Stay Safe When Taking Them

Web MD and my blog and newsletter at TheMedicationInsider.com have articles on remedies, medicines, and supplements.

Dr. Louise Achey, Doctor of Pharmacy, is a 40-year veteran of pharmacology and author of Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate: How Medicines Work and How YOU Can Take Them Safely. Check out her NEW website TheMedicationInsider.com for daily tips on how to take your medicine safely. ®2021 Louise Achey



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