Medication safety after a brain injury
A brain injury may result in
an ongoing need for medications which need to be taken in the right
dose, at the right time, and under the right
Possible problems with medications are an overdose, an allergic
reaction, or a negative interaction with an existing medication.
Medications prescribed after a traumatic brain injury can
- Anticonvulsants for the treatment of epilepsy
- Analgesics for pain management
- Psychotropics for the management of challenging behaviours
- Mood stabilizers and antidepressants.
It is very important to take medications as prescribed, and keep
your doctor updated on all your medications and if they are working
correctly or not. Important tips to remember include:
- Read the instructions and follow them carefully
- Don't stop taking a medication until your doctor says to
- Don't use medications after their use-by date
- Don't use other people's medications
- Keep all medications out of reach of children
- Give any unused medications to your pharmacist for
- Don't change the dose or the time the medicine is
Questions to ask your pharmacist or
If you don't understand something your pharmacist or doctor
says, ask them to explain in an easier way. Important questions to
- How much should I take, how often and at what times of
- Should I take the medicine on a full or empty stomach?
- Do I swallow the pills whole or can they be crushed or
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- Will we reassess my need for this medication, and when?
- What are the possible side-effects and how can I manage
- Are there serious reactions that I need to watch out for?
- Are there potentially serious interactions with other
- Do you have a brochure with information on this
Organizing your medications
Use a dosette box.These plastic containers come in
different shapes and sizes, and have compartments labelled by
days of the week and meal times. A dosette enables you
to organise the week's medications and
prevents uncertainty about whether or not a medicine has
If you take multiple medications, many pharmacists can now
pre-package these for you so that a dosette box isn't needed. Never
put your medications in other bottles as it is easy to forget which
ones are which.
Store your medications in a cool dry place. Remember some may
required refrigeration so check the instructions carefully. Make
sure your medications can't be accessed by children, and don't let
them see you taking them - children love to copy your actions!
Other points to consider
- Check the 'use by' date on your medications
- Always consult your doctor if you are thinking of becoming
- Never tell a child that medication is a sweet
- Don't take medication in front of a child, they love to copy
- Always keep medications out of children's reach
- Get a dosette box / pill organizer to make taking medications
- Keep medications in their original containers in a cool dry
- Some medicines need to be refrigerated.
References and further information