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Medication Hints

Helpful Hints for Medication Safety

In order for your drug therapy to be effective, you must take your medications exactly as your physician directs, particularly when taking several medications at the same time. Do not try to adjust them yourself. Here are some helpful hints:

  1. Label empty dark containers, extra prescription bottles (you can get these from your pharmacist), or envelopes with the times of day or the days of the week you must take medication. Use a separate container for each time. Each morning fill these containers with the appropriate dose of each medication. Note: some drugs may break down when exposed to light. Before you remove drugs from their original containers, check with your pharmacist or physician.
  2. Make a medication calendar. Use a calendar that has enough space to fill in the names of the drugs you need to take each day. Then put a check mark next to the name of the drug after you take each dose.
  3. Make a chart listing:
    • name of drug
    • what it is for
    • what it looks like (shape, color)
    • directions for taking the drug
    • special cautions or side effects
    • time of day to take drug

Hang this Chart Near your Medicine Cabinet

  1. Set your alarm clock or ask a relative or friend to remind you to take your medications.
  2. Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications like aspirin, Tylenol, or antacids. They may cause side effects when combined with your regular medications.
  3. If a medication seems to be causing side effects such as nausea, trembling, etc., let your doctor or home care nurse know. Do not stop the medication yourself. Some medications must be gradually decreased. Your doctor will direct you or prescribe another medication.
  4. If you develop nausea and vomiting due to the flu and cannot take your medications, notify your doctor or home care nurse immediately.