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Posted on Wed, Jul 27, 2005

A General Guide for Taking Medicines

A General Guide for Taking Medicines
This information will help you when taking any medicine.  In addition to these guidelines, you need to have information about the specific medicines you are taking.  Your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse can give you that information.
Before Taking Your Medicine:
Before you take any new medicine, tell your doctor if:
  • You have ever had an allergic or unusual reaction to any medicine, herbal product, food, or other substance.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
  • You are on a low-salt, low-sugar, or any other special diet.  A special diet can change how a medicine works.
  • You are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant.  The use of any medicine
 during pregnancy must be carefully considered.  Your obstetrician or pharmacist
 will be able to tell you of the safety of any medicines you take during pregnancy.
  • You are breast feeding.  Some medicines pass into the breast milk and can cause undesirable side effects in the baby.
  • You have taken any prescription and nonprescription medicines or dietary
 supplements in the past few weeks.  Medicines can change how other medicines work.
What You Should Know About Your Medicine:
  • Please ask questions about medicines you are taking.  Write down your questions and take them with you to your doctor's visit.  Your pharmacist also can answer questions about the medicine when the prescription is filled.
  • Learn both the generic and brand names.
Generic Medicines:
In most cases, generic medicines are the same as brand-name medicines. There are some exceptions.  Your pharmacist will be able to tell you which medicines can be substituted with a generic and which should not.
Write down the following information and keep it with you.:
  • Why am I taking the medicine.
  • What does the drug do.
  • What is the strength of my medicine.
  • How much do I take.
  • How long do I take it.
  • What are the usual side effects and what do I do if they occur
  • What do I do when I forget to take my medicine.
  • What do I do in case of an accidental overdose.
Proper Use Of Your Medicine:
  • Take your prescribed medicines at the right time, and for the full length of time, unless any unusual side effects occur.
  • If you take medicine each day, ask for a refill several days before your supply is gone.
  • Take non-prescription medicines as directed on the label.  Talk with your pharmacist before you choose a non-prescription medicine.  If the medicine does not work within the time it claims, call your doctor.
  • Always read the label before taking any medicine. Check the date on the bottle and throw out those medicines that have expired.
  • Child-proof caps are required by law. This law has reduced the number of accidental poisonings.  If there are no children in your home, ask your pharmacist for an easy-to-open cap.  You may need to sign a release form to get these non child-proof caps.
How To Store Your Medicine:
� Keep your medicines tightly capped in the original bottle.  Never put different medicines in one bottle to store for a long time.  If you use a pill container to help you to take the medicine, put in only enough medicine to cover the day or week you use this item.  Keep a list of each medicine you put into the pill reminder.
� Store your medicines away from heat and direct sunlight.  Do not put medicines in bathroom cabinet, because heat and moisture may cause them to change. Store medicine in a kitchen cabinet, away from heat, but where children cannot get to them.  Do not store medicines in the refrigerator or freezer unless you are told to do so.
� Outdated medicines or any prescription medicine not used for more than one year should be thrown out.  Check with your pharmacist about how to get rid of them safely.  Do not throw old medicines in the trash can.
� Do not give your prescription medicine to other people.  This can be very dangerous, and it is against the law.  The medicine is for your medical problem, and may not be the correct treatment for another person.
� Before you have surgery or emergency treatment, tell your doctor or dentist about medicines you are taking.  Be sure to include any vitamins, herbals or other over-the-counter medicines.
� If you take more medicine than prescribed, call the poison control center, your doctor, or pharmacist at once.  Keep local telephone numbers close to the telephone.
� Use only one pharmacy so the pharmacist has a record of all of your medicines.  This allows for checks that your medicines can be taken together safely.
Poison Center

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