Managing Your Medication
The website offers tips on medication including:
- Get the best medication for what ails you
- 8 ways to save big on your medication
- What over-the-counter drug labels really mean
Picking up your prescriptions
Safe medication use begins when you get a prescription. Read these safety tips and questions to go over with your pharmacist when you are getting your prescription filled.
Taking your medication
- Consider using simple tools to help improve your ability to take your
medications at the correct time, and to avoid missing medications.
Examples include: medication boxes, charts, calendars, etc.
- Take medications as prescribed, even if you're feeling better.
Contact your health care provider if you think you need to stop taking a
- Don't crush, chew, or break any capsules or tablets unless
instructed. Some medications won't be effective when crushed or broken,
and others may be harmful.
- Turn on the lights to take your medications. If you can't see
what you're taking, you may take the wrong thing.
- Do not share your medications with anyone else, or take
medications given to you by someone else. You don't know if someone
else's medications will interact with yours, the dose may be wrong, or you
may be allergic to their medication.
- To give liquid medication, use only the measuring device that came
with it. This is especially important when administering
a prescription or over-the-counter medication to a child. Household
teaspoons and tablespoons are not accurate. Your pharmacist or health
care provider may give you a special measuring device instead.
- Store all medications where children and pets cannot access them.
- Don't store medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet
or in direct sunlight. Being exposed to heat and moisture can make medicines less potent before their expiration date. For example, a warm, muggy environment can cause aspirin tablets to break down into acetic acid (vinegar) and salicylic acid, both of which can irritate the stomach.
- Keep medications for people separate from pet medications
or household chemicals. Mix-ups are dangerous.
- Don't keep tubes of ointments or creams next to the toothpaste.
Disposing of medication
- Never use a medication that has changed color, texture, or odor, even if it has not expired. Throw away capsules or tablets that stick together, are harder or softer than normal, or are cracked or chipped.
- Dispose of all old medications properly. Children and pets might get into medications that are thrown into the wastebasket. Some medications might become toxic after the expiration date. Check with your pharmacist about proper disposal.
- Throw out liquid antibiotics when children have finished the
amount of medication prescribed by their health care provider.