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Home > Managing Your Medications > Use Responsibly

Use Responsibly

How you take your medicines is very important. Below are some general tips to help you remember what to doand what not to do when taking medicines.

The Do’s

  • Do keep a list of every medicine— over-the-counter and prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicines and the dose for each that you take
  • Do have a routine — take medicine at the same time everyday or as directed
  • Do check the label before taking medicine. If the print on the container is hard to read, ask your pharmacist if it can be made larger.
  • Do use medicine only for the symptoms you have (for example, using cold, cough, and sinus medicine only if you have all three)
  • Do check the labels to see if you are using medicines with the same active ingredient. If you are, make sure your doctor knows
  • Do check with your doctor or pharmacist before you start, stop or change a medicine
  • Do use the same pharmacy every time you get your prescription filled. Pharmacies can help you keep track of what you are taking
  • Do take medicine as directed

The Don’ts

  • Don’t take any medicines after they have expired
  • Don’t mix medicine with alcohol, hot drinks, caffeine (coffee and soda), acidic foods (grapefruit juice), or dairy products (milk) without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first
  • Don’t take someone else’s medicine or share your medicine with someone else
  • Don’t leave medicines where children or pets can find them
  • Don’t take more than the recommended dose — more is not better
  • Don’t wait until you run out of medicine to refill your prescription
  • Don’t take medicine in the dark. Turn on a light to make sure you are taking the right medicine. If you wear eye glasses to read, make sure to wear them when taking medicine
  • Don’t forget to take your medicines with you when you travel or will not be at home. Before you leave, make sure you have enough medication

Page updated: October 4th, 2011