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Medicines: Use Them Safely

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When you're at the doctor's office, make sure you review your medicine record and ask your doctor about any new information concerning your medicines. And each time you are prescribed new medication, find out the following information:

  1. What is the name of the medicine and why am I taking it?
  2. What are the brand and generic names of the medicine?
  3. What is the name of the condition this medicine will treat?
  4. How does this medicine work?
  5. How often should I take it?
  6. How long will it take to work?
  7. How will I know if this medicine is working?
  8. How can I expect to feel once I start taking this medicine?
  9. When should I take it and how much? As needed? Before, with or between meals? At bedtime?
  10. If I forget to take it, what should I do?
  11. What side effects might I expect? Should I report them? How can I lessen the side effects?
  12. How long will I have to take it?
  13. What should I do if the medicine doesn't seem to work?
  14. Can this medicine interact with other medicines (prescription and OTC's including herbal and dietary supplements) that I am taking now?
  15. While using this medicine, should I avoid:
    drinking alcohol?
    eating certain foods?
    taking certain medicines?
    Are there any other precautions?
  16. Can I get a refill? When?
  17. How should I store the medicine?
  18. If I don't take medicine, is there anything else that would work as well?

Source: National Institute on Aging
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health - www.nih.gov

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