Take Charge of Your Medications


Are you taking charge of your medicines? If not, you can be putting your health at risk. Proper medication administration is a three tier effort that includes your physician, your pharmacist and yourself. Knowing about the drugs you take today can save you a lot of grief tomorrow.





To take charge of your medications, be sure to do the following:

  1. Keep your medicines in a cool, dry place-not the bathroom. Warmth and moisture can effect the composition of drugs.
  2. Keep a list of every medication you take, including over-the-counter medications and supplements. (ISMP note: Use Consumermedsafety.org to list your medications and receive a free medication card that you can update every 3 months. You can also check your medications for drug interactions at that location.) Check with your pharmacist to make sure the medications won't interact with or negate each other.
  3. Avoid potential confusion—leave all medicines in their original containers.
  4. Check expiration dates. Potency may be affected in expired drugs.
  5. Whenever you get a new prescription, ask the name of the medication and what it is supposed to do, when and how you should take it, for how long, whether or not it cause an allergic reaction and what are the potential side effects or medication errors. Search drug names on the Consumermedsafety.org website to know what medication errors to look out for.
  6. Be careful when crushing or splitting pills. Some pills are designed to be taken whole. See the list of drugs that shouldn't be split or crushed.
Created on January 1, 2003

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