Medication Safety Tips
Educate Before You Medicate
- Inform your physician or other health care provider about all medications you are currently taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, dietary/herbal supplements, vitamins, minerals, laxatives, pain relievers, sleeping aids and so on. Keep a medication wallet card with you, including updated information about the medications you are taking.
- Inform your physician or other health care provider about allergies or any adverse medication reactions you have experienced before taking any new medication.
- Make sure your pharmacy clearly labels the medicine container with its name, dosage, directions for use, storage and expiration date.
- Educate yourself about the medications you take. At the doctor's office, take notes or bring a family member or friend if necessary to assure your understanding of the medications prescribed to you.
- Keep all medications out of children's reach. Know the poison control number in case of an emergency.
Important Medication Questions Every Patient Should Ask His or Her Doctor
- What is the name of the medication? Is it the brand name or generic brand?
- How and when am I to take the medicine? For how long? What do I do if I miss a dose?
- What are the side effects of this medication? What do I do if they occur?
- What is the purpose of the medicine? How will I know if it is working?
- What activities, food, or drinks should I avoid while taking this medication?
- How should I store this medicine?
- Is the medicine safe to take with other medicines including over-the-counter medicines, dietary/herbal supplements, vitamins, minerals, laxatives, etc?
- How do I get a refill of the medicine?