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Taking an Active Role in Your Medicines

Take the time to learn about your medicine. For instance, why are you taking it? What does it do? Work with your healthcare providers to get the answers you need.

Man talking to pharmacist.

Ask questions about your medicine

Find out the following information:

  • What is the name of the medicine?

  • Is there another way to treat my condition?

  • If I take several medicines, do I really need another medicine?

  • Why do I need to take it? When should I take it?

  • How should I take it: with water? with food? on an empty stomach? Is it safe to drink alcohol with this medicine?

  • How much do I take?

  • What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • What side effects could it cause and which ones should I call the healthcare provider about?

  • Are there any foods, liquids, or medicines I should avoid while taking this medicine?

  • Will this medicine change how my other medicines work?

  • How long should I take each medicine? Am I taking medicines I no longer need?

Take an active role

Actions to take include the following:

  • Fill all your prescriptions at the same pharmacy. This keeps your medicine history in one place.

  • Talk to the pharmacist. Make sure you understand how to take each medicine. Ask for a fact sheet about each one. If you use a mail order pharmacy, be sure to read any written material that comes with the medications, even if you have taken this medication before. There may be new information that you need to know. .

  • Tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take. This includes vitamins, nutrition or health supplements, alcohol or other drugs, and herbal remedies.

  • Tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist if you have any medical conditions or allergies to any medicine or food, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Keep a list of all your medicines. Use the sample to the right as a guide for the type of information needed.

Name of medicine:

Taken for:


Time(s) to take it:

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2019
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