“Medications do not work in patients who do not take them.”
C. Everett Koop, Former US Surgeon General
Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to tell you the facts about each medicine you take. Use the following guidelines to help you talk to your healthcare provider. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to tell you the facts about each medicine you take.
- What is the name of the medicine?
- What is the active ingredient(s)?
- What is the medicine for?
- How much do I take and when should I take it?
- What does it look like?
- When does it expire?
- Are there any side effects or special warnings?
- What should I do if I start having side effects?
- Can I take it if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What other medicines or foods should I avoid?
Keep a List of Your Medications – Write down the important facts about each medicine you take.
- List each prescription medicine.
- Include vitamins and over-the-counter medicines like aspirin and cold medicine.
- Keep the list with you all the time.
- Show it to your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist.
Use Medicines as Directed – Take your Medication as prescribed by your doctor, nurse and/or pharmacist. Your medicine may not work if you don’t follow the directions. Taking too much or too little can make you very sick.
Avoid Common Problems.
- Don’t share medicines.
- Don’t use medicine in the dark where you can’t see what you are taking.
- Check the expiration date on your medicine. It may not be safe or work after it has expired.
- Read the directions on the label and ask your healthcare provider how much you should take and when.
- Never skip taking your prescription medicine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you stop taking your medicines.
- Only take the suggested dose.
Safely Throw Out Your Medicine – Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist how you should get rid of unused medicines. Find out if you should:
- Flush it down the toilet or sink.
- Put it in a sealed plastic bag with coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw it in the trash.
- Drop it off at a drug take-back program in your community.
- Be sure to scratch off your name and personal information before you put empty pill bottles in the trash. Make sure that children can’t get to medicines including patches that you put in the trash.