Medicines cure infectious diseases, prevent problems from chronic diseases, and ease pain. But medicines can also cause harmful reactions if not used correctly. Errors can happen in the hospital, at the doctor's office, at the pharmacy, or at home. You can help prevent errors by
- Knowing your medicines. Keep a list of the names of your medicines, how much you take, and when you take them. Include over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements and herbs. Take this list to all your doctor visits.
- Reading medicine labels and following the directions. Don't take medications prescribed for someone else.
- Take extra caution when giving medicines to children.
- Asking questions. If you don't know the answers to these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Why am I taking this medicine?
- What are the common problems to watch out for?
- What should I do if they occur?
- When should I stop this medicine?
- Can I take this medicine with the other medicines on my list?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention