Jan 16, 2009

So many meds, so little time...

It's no secret that moms have the uncanny ability to know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING...or so we allow our unsuspecting families to believe. The truth is, we aren't just worrying about the things we know are going on, we spend a lot of time wondering what's falling through the cracks. I'll be the first to join the 12 step group for Overcommitted Anonymous :)

Having a husband with diabetes, a toddler in tow, and a pregnancy in process means I have a LOT to keep a handle on - especially when it comes to medications. Hubby has Type 1 Diabetes, which means he has insulin, testing and treatment supplies, and the looming possibility of blood pressure and other meds to keep his body working as it should. The Boy Wonder has escaped any major illnesses so far, but I overanalyze anything that goes into his body when he IS under the weather. And all the mommies know how pregnancy puts you on high alert for EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth, especially medications and supplements.

Enter Drugs.com. Not nearly as unseemly as it sounds, this site has become a FANTASTIC resource to me and my family. The main site is a comprehensive search engine for medications - you can search by condition (which lists most common prescribed meds for a given diagnosis), by drug name - they even have a Pill Identifier which lets you describe the pill and helps figure out what the mystery med might be...handy if you are helping an elderly friend or relative sort through bottles that may have lost labels, or meds that may have become separated from their bottles.

Not sure if the information is reliable? Drugs.com "is powered by four independent leading medical-information suppliers: Wolters Kluwer Health, Physicians’ Desk Reference, Cerner Multum and Thomson Micromedex. Individual drug (or drug-class) information content compiled by these sources is delivered complete and unaltered by Drugs.com." (from their "about" page). Every day I work, I see a doctor, nurse or pharmacist using the PDR and Micromedex to help them in treating patients, so I trust the sources and have no reservations using Drugs.com as my own reference tool.

I used it right off the bat to look into prenatal vitamins. I have an issue with high iron pills (my insides don't react well) but I know that folic acid is important for spinal cord growth. I was able to go into my first prenatal appointment with some real information and work with my doctor to find a vitamin that met all of my needs.

Drugs.com also has a neat little feature called MedNotes - an award-winning online medication log that allows you to build profiles for your family members, input any medications they are taking, as well as allergy and medical history info. The site will track drug interactions, provide user reviews and FDA alerts, and even send reminder emails for refills or renewals! MedNotes even has a few report tools - if you or a family member change doctors, or is hospitalized, you can easily print up a comprehensive medication list for the treating doctor. This feature alone is worth the time setting up an account - I work in a hospital, and I can't tell you how frustrating it can be to watch a nurse try to unravel a patient's medication history, which usually involves interviewing several family members, trying to obtain records from primary care offices, and wasting a LOT of precious treatment time.

Creating an account is free, and once you're in the site is extremely easy to navigate. Setting up the MedNotes profiles for all my family members took just a few moments, and updating information is quick and painless. Try it out!

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