Almost half of adults take a prescription medication and even more take over-the-counter medications, vitamins or supplements.
It's important to share information about all prescription and over-the-counter medications with your health care team to prevent unwanted side effects or interactions between your medications.
Printable medication list
Read the Label
For your health and safety, it's important to know exactly what medication you're taking and why.
Each time you fill a prescription, read the label before taking the medication. Check to make sure it is the correct prescription and dosage, and that it has been given to you in the correct way (i.e. chewable pills rather than those you need to swallow).
Ask your health care team if you have questions. You can also use these resources to help identify pills and check for potential interactions between your medications: Drug Interaction Checker and Pill Identifier.
The National Unused and Expired Medicine Registry reports that about 40 percent of prescription medications are never used. If you have unused or expired medications, it's important to safely dispose of them.
Ways and locations to safely dispose of your unused medications.
Talk to Your Team
Talking with your health care team is important, but sometimes it's hard to know what to ask. Below is a list of sample questions to start a medication safety conversation.
- What is the name of the medicine and how do you spell it?
- What is it for?
- When and how should I take it?
- What should I do if I forget to take it?
- What should I do if I accidentally take more than the prescribed dose?
- Are there side effects I should know about? When should I call the doctor about a side effect?
- Does this drug interact with any other medicines I'm taking?
- Can I take over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements and herbals with this medicine? What about alcohol?
- Do you have written instructions for me?