Medications can be lifesavers, but they need to be used properly. All medications carry some risk, especially if they're used incorrectly. To get the most out of your medications and to keep yourself safe, you need to know why a medication is being prescribed for you, how you're supposed to take it and what the side effects might be.

You also need to be smart when using over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers and cough and cold medicines. Read the label and follow directions with over-the-counter medications just as you would with prescription ones.

Finally make sure your doctor knows about all of the medications you take, including over-the-counter medications and any herbs or supplements. That way your doctor can check for possible interactions among your medications.

Apr. 08, 2014