Understanding Your Medicine

Did you know that taking your medications properly is one of the best ways to avoid future health care costs? Each year, thousands of people end up in the hospital, fail to get better, and spend more money than they have to simply because they do not take their medication properly.

Pharmacists can educate you about your medications, both prescription and nonprescription. The American Pharmaceutical Association, the national professional society of pharmacists, says that every person should be able to answer the following questions before taking any new medication.

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  • What is the name of the medication and what is it supposed to do?
  • When and how do I take it?
  • How long should I take it?
  • Does this medication contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction?
  • Should I avoid alcohol, any other medicines, foods, and/or activities?
  • Should I expect any side effects?
  • What if I forget to take my medication?
  • Is it safe to become pregnant or to breast-feed while taking this medication?
  • Is there a generic version of the medication that my doctor has prescribed?
  • How should I store my medication?

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