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Medicines can help you, but no drug is totally safe. There are things you can do to make sure your medicine works the best it can....
Medication Safety Tips Medicines can help you, but no drug is totally safe. There are things you can do to make sure your medicine works the best it can.

1. Ask questions—ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Why am I using this medicine?
  • When should I take it? How often, time of day? On an empty stomach or with food?
  • Is it safe to drink alcohol with it?
  • What problems should I watch for?
  • What should I do if I forget to take it?

2. Know the medicine.
  • What is the medicine’s brand name? Does it have any other names?
  • Is there a generic available?
  • What does the drug look like? Look at the color, shape, and package. If it looks different next time, ask why.
  • Find out what is in the drug. Do not use the medicine if you are allergic to anything in it. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about changing your medicine.
  • Keep a list of all your medications; prescriptions and over-the-counter products. Don’t forget any vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other products you may use. Bring your list to health appointments.

3. Follow directions.
  • Do not skip taking your medicines.
  • Don’t take more than the suggested dose.
  • Do not share medicines.
  • Do not use the medicine after the expiration date.
  • Read the warnings carefully.
  • Do not take medicine in the dark. It’s too easy to make a mistake.

Source: “Using Medicines Wisely”, “My Medicines”, FDA (Food and Drug Administration), www.fda.gov (1-888-INFO FDA) (1-888- 463-6332)