Remember to check and collect prescription medication in the lead-up to Christmas
There’s been a call for residents in Sydney Local Health District to add another item to their “to-do” lists this festive season – make sure you have enough prescription medication to last through the holidays – and store it safely.
Many local GPs will close for a period, particularly across the Christmas and New Year public holidays, which may mean patients will be unable to get prescriptions filled, especially if they leave it to the last minute.
“Be prepared. Make an appointment to see your GP so you can obtain a prescription ahead of time. Just like the rest of us in the lead-up to Christmas, it’s likely that GPs will be busy at this time as well,” the District’s acting director of Pharmacy Rosemary Burke said.
It’s just as important to set aside time to collect your medication from your local pharmacy.
“Make sure you have your prescriptions filled early. Allow extra time for pharmacists to get the medication – particularly if it’s a specialist drug,” Ms Burke said.
People also need to remember to store their medication properly over the holiday period – whether they’re spending the summer break at home, or travelling interstate or overseas.
“Many medications need to be refrigerated. Don’t keep medication elsewhere to make space for Christmas food. If medication isn’t stored properly it may not be as effective,” she said.
Even non-refrigerated medication should be stored at a temperature that’s below 25 degrees Celsius, which can be tricky on hot summer days, especially on a road trip.
“Medications can be very vulnerable to changes in temperature. So, if you’re out and about, leaving them in cars parked in the hot sun, for example, is not the best idea.
“It’s best to put them in appropriate packaging and keep them in an esky,” Ms Burke said.
And, don’t forget to keep medications out of the reach of children at all times.
Accidental poisonings – from medication or other substances – are most common in children under five and often occur when there’s a change to your routine, such as when you’re on holidays or have visitors who take medication stay at your home.
The NSW Poisons Information Centre operates 24-hours a day and staff are trained to provide poisons information. To contact the Poisons Information Line call 13 11 26.
If you’re flying overseas, consider taking a letter from your GP or specialist that details the name of your medication, how much you take and that it’s for personal use. There may be restrictions on the medication you can take out of Australia and also bring back with you when you return home.
And, make sure you take a copy of your prescription with you when you travel.
“If you’re heading overseas, pack your medication and prescription in your hand luggage rather than in your suitcase. It’ll be harder to get a replacement prescription if it’s in your suitcase and it’s lost,” Ms Burke said.
If you do lose your medication while travelling, make an appointment to visit a local doctor or attend a local hospital. However, the same drug may not be available and you may receive the nearest equivalent instead.