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Know Your Medicines:  The Basics 

October is American Pharmacists Month.  This is the perfect month – actually, any month is the perfect month – to stop and think about the medicines you take every day.  What kinds of things do you need to know about your medicines to take them safely, take them correctly, and prevent medication errors? 

HbL PharmaConsulting promotes “8 Things to Know about Your Medications,” listed below.  Many of you already might know this information about each of your medicines.  However, if you don’t or if you know only some of these 8 points, it never is too late to ask more specific questions.  Pharmacists are medication experts and can help you understand your prescription and nonprescription medicines. 

 

“8 Things to Know about Your Medications”

  1. The name of the medication and why you are taking it.
  2. How many times a day to take it.
  3. When to take it – what time of day, with or without food, etc.
  4. What to do if you miss a dose or forget to take it.
  5. If you need to refill the medication (how long you should take it).
  6. What are the most common side effects and the most serious side effects of the medication.
  7. How to store the medication in your home (any special requirements).
  8. If the drug interacts with alcohol, other drugs, or any foods.

Knowing your medications is the most important step to taking them properly.  In turn, taking your medicines properly is essential to achieving your health care goals. Finally, don’t forget the importance of a getting a complete medication review on an annual basis.

Written by Hedva Barenholtz Levy PharmD, BCSP, CGP

10/23/14

This material is informational only and not intended to replace the guidance of your health care team.