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Taking Your Medications Correctly

The Importance of Taking Your Medications Correctly

To get maximum benefit from your medications, it is important to take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor. In fact, your chance of a better health outcome improves when you take your medications as directed.

But four out of 10 older people who take more than one drug still do not take one or more of their prescriptions according to their doctor's instructions. Could you be one of them?

Talk to your health care professional

Make sure you understand the following points before you start taking any medication

  • Why you need the drug
  • How and when to take the drug
  • How to store the drug
  • What might happen if you don't take the drug as prescribed

Don't hesitate to ask your health care professional to write down any medication instructions.

Other tips

When it comes to taking your medications, it's essential to follow your health care professional's instructions. Make sure you never:

  • Use your medication for any symptom of illness other than the one for which it was prescribed
  • Take someone else's medication or give your medication to someone else
  • Take more or less of a medication, unless directed by your health care professional

Get organized

The following steps are designed to make it easier for you to organize your medications and related information.

  • List all medications that you take, which include prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements.
  • Jot down questions you want to ask your health care professional.
  • Write down your medical information. This includes emergency contact, primary physician, and allergies. Keep it in your wallet along with your insurance information.
  • Review the tips and information on this site to understand the importance of taking your medications correctly.

How do you fare?

Read the following statements. If any of these apply to you, you may not be getting the full benefit of your medications.

Remembering

  • I sometimes forget/put off having my medication refilled
  • I sometimes forget to take my medication.
  • I sometimes take my medicaton at the wrong times.
  • I take many different medications and sometimes it's hard to keep them straight.

"Playing Doctor"

  • I sometimes stop taking medication once I feel better.
  • I sometimes take more or less of my medication than my doctor prescribed.
  • I sometimes stop taking my medication because I think it is not working.

Other

  • I don't understand when I am supposed to take my medication.
  • I don't ask my health care professional questions about my medication because I am shy or embarrassed.

We encourage you to talk to your health care professional about taking your medications correctly.