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What are some good rules to follow to take my medications safely?

When medicines are tested for safety, they are tested as they should be used. Taking less or more of your medicine, or taking it at the wrong time, may cause it not to work right. It can even be harmful. Taking your medicine the right way is important to make sure it works best for you.

Roughly half of the people taking medicines don’t take them properly. Many people may just take their medicine when they feel ill. They may stop taking it when they feel better or no longer think it is helping. This can cause big problems. For example:
  • Medicines for high cholesterol or high blood pressure work best if used regularly for a long time. You may not feel a difference. But if you don’t take your medicine, it cannot work to improve your health.
  • If you stop taking an antibiotic before you’re supposed to, the germs may get stronger. Then, they may be harder to kill the next time.
These are good rules to follow when taking a medicine:
  1. Only take prescription medicines that have been prescribed by your provider.
  2. Take it just as your were told by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
  3. Read the label.
  4. Take it at the same time each day so you don’t forget.
  5. Don’t skip doses.
  6. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you have questions.
  7. Keep your medicines in the containers that they came in and do not remove the labels.
Tell your healthcare provider if your medicine makes you feel worse or if you want to stop for some reason. He or she may be able to change your dose or switch you to another medicine that could work better for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.