Thursday November 19 2015 10:30 AM
I was on my way to pick up the kids from soccer practice the other day when I realised I had forgotten my phone! It was too late to make it back home to retrieve it and as it turned out, I had to wait a while for the final whistle. With my only other option being the car manual, I decided to re-read the package leaflet for my MS meds. Every time I get a new pack, I toss the tiny paper concertina aside and pop the plastic bubble to get my daily dose. I had read the entire thing when I started taking them almost two years ago and to be honest- it was tough going.
As the concertina unfolds, I read about what my medication is and what it is used for, what I need to know before I take it and how to take it. I must say that the language is quite clear – considering the subject matter. Now for the crescendo- the side effects…. If you have any hypochondriac tendencies, this is where they come out to play. First the “could be or could become” serious side effects (common – uncommon – rare). Next up is the plain old side effects (very common – common – uncommon – rare – not known). The rest of the booklet details storage information, contents of the pack and other information. In my mind, I’m still stuck on the side effects section.
When I get home and back to my beloved internet, I checked out a page mentioned in the leaflet. It’s called the Yellow Card Scheme and it’s for reporting side effects directly in the UK. I thought it was a clever name and it stuck in my mind. You can find it on: https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
The Irish equivalent is: http://www.hpra.ie/homepage/about-us/report-an-issue
It is important for people to report problems experienced with medicine or medical devices as these are used to identify issues which might not have been previously known about.
On balance, I am glad that I revisited the package leaflet for my medication. From now on, I will check the “This leaflet was last revised on” date when I pick up my prescription and re-read if required. Scanning through the known side effects is not pleasant but makes me focus on any health issues I may have been dismissing and prompts me to report them. I also will not forget my phone when I am picking up the kids!