Health Tip: Use Medications Safely

Ways to avoid dosing problems and dangerous interactions

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(HealthDay News) -- Any drug, no matter how safe, can lead to problems if taken incorrectly or with other drugsthat can conflict with each other.

To make sure you use medicines safely and effectively, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists recommends that you:

  • Keep a list of all medications that you take (prescribed drugs, nonprescription medicines, herbal supplements, home remedies and medical foods), and share this list -- including dosing information -- with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Tell your health-care provider how you actually take your medications, especially if you don't follow the originally prescribed directions (not a good idea).
  • Ask if you should avoid certain foods, beverages, other medicines or activities while you are taking your medications.
  • Question anything you don't understand or that doesn't seem right. Be especially alert to unexpected changes, such as receiving a prescription refill that seems to have a different strength or appearance from your original prescription.
  • If you're too ill to follow these suggestions, ask a friend or relative to help.

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