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Read the Label


Read the label each time you buy an over-the-counter medication or fill a prescription.

Check the active ingredient. If it's also an active ingredient in one of your other medications, it may increase your chances of unwanted side effects.

Read the label each time before you use a medication. Be sure it's right in 5 ways:

  • The right medicine
  • For the right patient
  • In the right amount
  • At the right time
  • In the right way (i.e. swallow instead of chew)

If you want to stop taking a medicine your doctor told you to use, or to use it in a different way than directed, talk to your doctor first.

Some medicines take longer to show they are working. With some medicines, such as antibiotics, it is important to finish the whole prescription, even if you feel better sooner.

Helpful Resources

  • Call the Consumers for Affordable Healthcare HelpLine at 1-800-965-7476 for information on financial help with prescription drugs, or visit the website.

Contact Us

For more information on MEDSmart or to request free materials, contact:

Ashley McCarthy, Health Educator
Thayer Center for Health
149 North Street
Waterville, ME 04901

Phone: (207) 861-5278
E-mail: ashley.mccarthy@mainegeneral.org