Be R/X Smart

Medicine can cure what ails you – or it can make you sick. It is very important to take your medicines as directed and to be sure that any new medication will not interfere with the ones you are already taking.

Top Tip: Bring all your medications (prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs and supplements) with you to doctors’ appointments, or make a list (see below).

Make a list of the medications you are taking. Keep it up-to-date and give it all your doctors and pharmacist. (Also, keep a copy with you in case of emergencies, and near your front door or on your refrigerator, and give a copy to someone close to you as back-up.) The list should have:

  • Today’s date, your name and birth date at the top of the page
  • What you are taking (such as aspirin)
  • When you started taking it, how long you are suppose to take it, and if there a refill(s)
  • How much and dosage (1 pill, 325 mg), and how often (once a day)
  • When and how (8 a.m. with food)
  • Why you are taking it (headache)
  • The name and contact information of the doctor who prescribed the medication

Be honest with your doctor about what you are taking. Medications can interact in good ways and bad. Your doctor can make better treatment decisions if she knows exactly what you are putting into your body.

Find about the medicine you are taking before you start taking it (unless it is an emergency): what it’s for, what it does, info about the studies that were conducted, risks and benefits, and possible side effects and what to do if you experience any. Also find out if there’s a generic version and if its effective.

Follow-up with your doctor. Call your doctor immediately if you have a bad reaction to a medicine, if you have any problems taking it, or if you stop taking the medication before you are suppose to. Otherwise, your doctor will think that the problem is being treated, and that you are able to take the medicine without it bothering you. (Call 9-1-1 in an emergency.)

Don’t share your medication.  Every body is different and we can react to medications differently.  Your prescription is for you and no one else.

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Bonus Tip: Keep old med lists to refer to. This is especially important if you are taking a medicine for a chronic illnesses or other problem for a long amount of time.