Getting the Most From Your Medicine

Medicine can help you feel better. But if it is taken incorrectly, medicine can actually make you feel worse.

If there is something you don’t understand about a medicine you’re taking, ask your doctor or pharmacist to clearly answer questions you have.

If you are taking more than one medicine, ask if the medicines could interact with each other.

It is helpful to have a written list of all medicines you take for your doctor or pharmacist to review.

Your list should include the name of medicine (generic name and brand name), reason it was prescribed, how much, how often and when you have taken it, any side effects you have experienced, and the duration of time you’ve taken the medicine.

Some questions to consider are:

  • w What does the medicine do?
  • w When and how should I take the medicine?
  •  What are the side effects?
  •  Will the medicine react to any other medicine, foods or drinks?
  •  Should I avoid any activities?
  •  What should I do if I forget to take the medicine?
  •  How do I know if the medicine is working?
  • Whether your are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, you should:
  •  Read labels carefully.
  •  Take medicine exactly as your doctor tells you.
  •  Make sure that all of your doctors have a list of all of the medicines you are taking.
  •  Ask your doctor to help you make a schedule for taking medicine so you know what medicines to take at what times of the day.
  •  Consider using one pharmacy for all your prescriptions. Your pharmacist can help you keep track of the medicines you take.
  •  Make sure everyone you live with knows what medicine you take and when you’re supposed to take it.
  •  Do not combine prescription and over-the-counter medicines unless your doctor approves.
  •  Do not stop taking a medicine or change how much you take or how often you take it without first talking to your doctor.
  •  Do not take someone else’s tablets or capsules unless your doctor approves.
  •  Do not crush medicine. Some medicines won’t work correctly unless they are swallowed whole.
  •  Don’t use medicine after its expiration date.