Australia Pharmaceutical Literacy

The Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy strives to help students select information from credible sources. One important area which students may want to research involves finding out the real facts about the risks of drug misuse.

To take a complete look at this subject, students will want to ferret out the facts on several important facets of the topic.

How literate is the average Australian/New Zealand patient when it comes to understanding the hazards associated with prescribed medications? There are several risks that fall under this category, including:

* Improper Dosage – How often does a patient fail to read and understand the label directions on a drug bottle? A pharmacist is supposed to explain dosing instructions to patients. How often is this ineffective, due to either pharmacist error or omission, patient confusion, or, sadly, the inability to read? Some sick elderly patients with poor eyesight may be prescribed half a dozen or more pills to be taken daily. Doesn’t confusion in this circumstance seem inevitable? Even the most helpful and well-meaning pharmacist can’t be there every time such a patient takes a pill – how often is the wrong pill taken, or taken too frequently or not often enough?

* Side-Effects – Is the patient aware that a prescribed medicine can cause drowsiness, or vertigo, or a host of other potentially harmful side-effects? Is the side-effect delayed, only showing up after taking a drug for weeks at a time? How can one find out whether new symptoms are part of the underlying problem or attributable to the prescribed medicine?

* Interactions With Other Drugs And/Or Alcohol – The problem of drug-drug interactions grows exponentially with the number of different medicines prescribed to a single patient. How aware is the patient? Many drugs specifically warn against drinking alcohol, but how many patients remember this, or simply don’t care? How many deaths are recorded each year due to a lethal combination of drugs and alcohol?

* Likelihood Of Addiction Or Tolerance – A pain clinic will often take on patients not for treating pain, but rather for treating an addiction to pain medication. How often is this due to prescriptions written by doctors who are not expert on the addictive nature of certain analgesics?

* Safe Storage Of Powerful Drugs – How many children are sickened or killed each year because their curiosity led them to ingest haphazardly stored medications? How often are parents prosecuted for negligent manslaughter for indifferently leaving their pill bottles lying around where young ones can get at them?

We’ve asked a lot of questions on this one topic to make a point: students must find trusted and reliable sources of information! It is vital to seek the guidance of trusted medical professionals, like those at the Georgia Pain Clinic, in order to avoid costly or even deadly complications.