Drugs Home > Taking Medicines Safely and Effectively

Taking medicines safely and effectively is an important aspect of your health. To that end, it's important to communicate with your healthcare provider. Be sure to let him or her know about all the medications you're taking (including vitamins and supplements), take your medicines exactly as instructed, and let your healthcare provider know if you experience any side effects.

Suggestions for Taking Medicines Safely and Effectively

The following tips can help ensure that you are taking medicines safely and effectively:
  • Before you start any new medicine, give your healthcare provider a list of all the medications you're already taking, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal medicines and supplements. Even better, bring all of your medications to your appointment. This will help your healthcare provider prescribe medications that do not have potentially dangerous interactions with any other medicine you use.
  • Take all medicines exactly as your healthcare provider recommends.
  • If you experience side effects, tell your healthcare provider right away so that the drugs can be adjusted, if necessary.
  • If you're worried about costs, tell your doctor or pharmacist. There may be a less expensive drug or a generic form that you can use instead.
  • Before starting any new over-the-counter medicine or supplement, consult with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that it won't interfere with your prescribed medicine.
  • Always get your prescriptions filled on time so that you don't run out. Make a regular note on your calendar to help you remember when to order and pick them up each time.
  • Never stop or cut down on any medication without first consulting your healthcare provider.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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