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Using Medications Wisely

Medications might cure what ails you but they also can have side effects. Here are some questions you might want to ask your pharmacist or health care provider about medications that have been prescribed for you:

  • What is the name of this drug, and how is it supposed to help me?
  • Should I take this pill with water, or may I take it with juice or milk instead?
  • What should I do if I forget to take one dose? Two doses?
  • How soon can I expect results?
  • Can I drink alcohol or smoke while taking this medication?
  • Are there any foods, prescription or non-prescription drugs, or vitamin supplements that may affect this medication? Should I quit taking them until I finish this prescription?
  • Can I stop taking the medication if my symptoms disappear?
  • Are there any non-drug treatment options that you would recommend?
  • What are the side effects of this medication? Should I report them?
  • Will this drug make me drowsy? Will it impair my ability to drive or operate heavy machinery?
  • Where can I get written information about this medication?
  • Can I increase or decrease the dosage at my own discretion?
  • Should this medication be taken before, with or after meals?
  • Does this drug come with a generic version that can save me money?

Tips About Food and Drug Interactions:

1. Always read directions, warnings and precautions.

2. Unless directed, don't mix medication into food. Some foods contain substances that might alter the drug. Breaking apart the medication can also alter the effect of the drug.

3. Don't mix medications into hot beverages. Heat can destroy or alter the effect of the drug.

4. Avoid alcohol. It might intensify or reduce the effect of the drug.

5. Don't take your medication at the same time that you take your vitamin or mineral supplement. Sometimes, the nutrients can bind with the drug ingredient, leading to reduced absorption or faster elimination.

6. Unless otherwise directed, take medicines with water on an empty stomach. Drugs generally are absorbed faster this way. Make sure to check your prescrip­tion directions to see if they recommend taking your medication with food.

7. Always check with your pharmacist if you have any questions about the correct way to take your medication.

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