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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?

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