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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Feature:
Taking Medicines Safely

Medicines: Use Them Safely

Weekly Pill Organizer

When Jerry, age 71, came home from the drug store with his latest prescription, he placed all his pill bottles on the kitchen counter and counted them. "I take five different medications, and you take four," he said to his wife. "We need a system. We need to know what medicines we have, what they're for, and when we should take them." Modern medicine has made our lives better in many ways. It has helped us live longer, healthier lives. But people over 65 have to be careful when taking medications, especially when they're taking many different drugs.

Pills and Capsules

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About A New Medicine

  • What is the name of the medicine, and why am I taking it?
  • How many times a day should I take it? At what times? If the bottle says take "4 times a day," does that mean 4 times in 24 hours or 4 times during the daytime?
  • Should I take the medicine with food or without? Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medicine?
  • What does "as needed" mean?
  • When should I stop taking the medicine?
  • If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
  • What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem?
Read More "Taking Medicines Safely" Articles

Medicines: Use Them Safely / At Your Doctor's Office / Ask Your Pharmacist / Now, It's Your Turn: How You Can Take Medicine Safely

Summer 2013 Issue: Volume 8 Number 2 Page 22