Medicines can help you feel better and get well when you are sick. But if you don’t follow the directions, medicines can hurt you.
You can lower your chances of side effects (unwanted or unexpected effects) from medicines by following directions carefully. Side effects may be mild, like an upset stomach. Other side effects can be more serious, like damage to your liver.
When you follow the directions on the medicine label or from your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse, you get the best results.Take these simple steps to avoid problems with medicines.
Follow the directions on the medicine label carefully.If you don’t understand the directions, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to explain them to you.Keep a list of all the medicines, vitamins, minerals, and herbs you use. Share this information with your doctor.Store your medicines in a cool, dry place where children and pets can’t see or get to them.
Drug Facts label
All OTC medicines come with a Drug Facts label. The information on this label can help you choose the right OTC medicine for you and your problem.
The Drug Facts label also gives you instructions for using the medicine safely. Even OTC medicines can cause side effects or harm if you use too much or don’t use them correctly.
Follow the directions on the Drug Facts label to lower your chances of side effects.
Talk to your doctor.
Before you use any new prescription medicines, tell your doctor:
About other medicines you use – both prescription and OTC medicines
About any vitamins, minerals, or herbs you use
If you are allergic to any medicines
If you’ve had side effects after using any medicines
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, because some medicines may harm your baby
If you have any questions or concerns about the new medicine
Prevent problems and mistakes with your medicines.
Follow directions carefully.
Be sure to read directions carefully when taking prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines
If you notice unpleasant changes after taking medicine, like feeling dizzy or having an upset stomach, call your doctor or nurse.
Ask questions to make sure you understand.
To use a medicine safely, you need to know:
What the medicine is
Why you are using the medicine
How to use the medicine the right way
If there are any medicines you shouldn’t take with this one
Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist questions to be sure you understand how to use your medicine.