Medication Safety Tips

It's important to learn as much as you can about your medicines. If you're unsure whether you are using your medication right, or are unsure about its effects or purpose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist right away. These medication safety tips may help you stop a serious mistake.

  • When you receive a prescription from your doctor make sure you know the name of the drug, the correct dose, how often to take it, for how long, and potential side effects.
  • Don't be afraid to write down this information or ask the doctor to repeat it if you are unsure.
  • When you have the medication filled at the pharmacy, open the bag and read the label while you are still at the counter. If you have doubts about the medicine, talk to the pharmacist before leaving the store.
  • Keep a list of all your medications, including over-the-counter (OTC) medications and herbal remedies. Share the list with all your doctors. This is important because sometimes medications can interact with each other.
  • Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
  • All medications can have side effects. They are usually mild, and your body can usually adjust to the side effects. But if you have a bad reaction such as hives or you become short of breath, seek medical help right away.
  • Keep a list of medications that have caused bad side effects or an allergic reaction. Keep it updated.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist how long it will take for the medication to take effect. Some medications work quickly while others may take a few weeks to take full effect.
  • Take your medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking medication unless you talk to your doctor first.
  • Do not double the dose if you forget to take your medicine. Take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time to take the next dose.
  • Keep medication away from children and in a dry and dark place. Sunlight can change how medication works.
  • Do not share you medicine with other people; it may be unsafe for them.