Dos and Don'ts for Prescription Medications
Modern medicine has come a long way in its efforts to improve the quality of our lives. Prescription medications have played a huge role in this. But medications can have serious side effects when they are not taken properly or when they are combined with other over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, supplements, or natural remedies. Here are some simple "dos & donts" to help minimize negative consequences.
Prescription Medication Dos:
- DO follow the exact dose and schedule prescribed by your doctor.
- DO ask your doctor about any possible side effects to watch for, and report any that you experience.
- DO ask your doctor about any and all over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, supplements, or natural remedies that you are taking or want to take.
- DO talk with your doctor about over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, supplements, or natural remedies if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Some medications or supplements may not be safe during these times.
- DO ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take your medicine properly (ie, with or without food?, with or without milk?, with extra water?).
- DO tell your doctor about past problems you've had with drugs, such as rashes, indigestion, dizziness, or appetite loss.
- DO keep a daily record of the drugs you are taking.
- DO review your drug record with each of your doctors at each visit, and when any doctor prescribes a new medicine.
- DO ask your pharmacist for large print if you cannot read the label.
- DO check the expiration date and throw out any expired medications.
- DO call your doctor right away if you have any problems with your medicine.
- DO plan ahead for refills so that you don't run out.
Prescription Medication Donts:
- DO NOT stop taking a prescription drug unless your doctor says it is okay.
- DO NOT take more or less than the amount prescribed.
- DO NOT mix alcohol and medicine unless your doctor specifically says it's okay.
- DO NOT take medications prescribed for someone else.
- DO NOT let anyone else take medications prescribed for you.
- DO NOT crush tablets unless you check with your doctor or pharmacist. Some medications (eg, long-acting formulations) have special coating and cannot be crushed.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices
US Food and Drug Administration
The National Women's Health Information Center website. Available at: http://www.4woman.gov/ .
Last reviewed November 2006 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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