Prescription medication may play an important role in your health and treatment of medical conditions. Understanding your prescription and following these tips will help you get the most benefit from your medication.

Track your medicines
Keep a list of all medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins and herbal supplements. Bring this list with you whenever you visit a doctor or pick up a prescription. This can reduce medical mistakes and improve the quality, safety and effectiveness of your health care.

Take your medications safely

Medicine is prescribed to help you. But it can hurt you if you take too much or mix medicines that shouldn’t go together. For every medication you are prescribed:

  • Know what the medicine is for and how to properly take it.
  • Ask if there is a generic substitution.
  • Ask about side effects and what to do if they occur. Also ask what to avoid (for instance, some medication shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol or may make it unsafe to drive).
  • Read the label and warnings that come with your prescription. Ask the pharmacist about anything you don’t understand.
  • Ask what you should do if you skip a dose or accidentally take more than the recommended dose.
  • When you pick up your prescription, make sure it is the same thing your doctor prescribed.
  • If you have any questions while taking the medication, call your doctor or pharmacist.

Follow your treatment plan
To stay healthy and safe, follow your treatment plan and take your medication as prescribed. Also:

  • Ask your doctor if you will need a refill, and how many.
  • Tell your doctor if you are having side effects.
  • Don’t share your medication with anyone.
  • Ask if you need tests to find out if the medication is working.