Stick to the Label, and Always Use Medication as Directed

Practicing a safe medication routine means taking your medications exactly as they are prescribed — the right dose, at the right time, in the right way. Taking medicines incorrectly could cause them to be ineffective or even dangerous.  

Establishing a safe medication routine, including proper storage, will help you build habits that protect you and keep you healthy as you take your prescribed medications. 

Here are some helpful hints to help you create a safe medication routine: 

  • Read your medication label. You can also find warnings on the label to help you protect yourself as you make your medication a part of your daily routine. 
  • Check the ingredients. Your doctor or pharmacist can provide you with a list of your medication’s ingredients. Review it for anything you may be allergic to, and make sure your doctor and pharmacist know of any drug allergies you have.  
  • Know the expiration date. It is important to understand how long you should continue taking a medication. Never take a medication that has expired. 
  • Know what to avoid. Certain medications are known to have potentially dangerous reactions with other substances. It is important to know which foods, beverages, other drugs, supplements, or over-the-counter medicines to avoid while taking your medication.  
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Even with a medication you’ve taken for years, it is important to discuss it with your doctor and pharmacist regularly, including how the medication affects your health condition and daily life.  
  • Never share medicines. Never accept prescription medications from someone else, and never share the medications you’ve been prescribed. Prescribed medications can be dangerous if your use hasn’t been evaluated by a professional. 
  • Organize your medicine. Storing medications as directed is important in making sure your medication remains effective through its expiration date. Your safe medication routine will also keep your medicine away from anyone who could mistakenly ingest it.  
  • Never take medicine in the dark. When taking or administering any medication, it’s critical to view the label to make sure you’ve reached for the right medicine bottle and know the exact recommended dose.  

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