Medicines can be lifesavers. But you need to use them the right way. The risk of side effects and other problems is higher if you don't follow the directions on how to take them.
Be sure to follow directions on the container's label for medicines that you buy at the store. And follow instructions from your doctor for stronger medicines that your doctor prescribes you.
Only take supplements that your doctor prescribes or recommends. Not all supplements sold in stores and online are proven to help. And some can affect other medicines.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have, such as:
- Why do I need this medicine?
- How do I take it?
- What side effects might it cause?
- Could it affect other treatments I take?
Make sure to tell your doctor if you take any herbs, supplements or medicines, whether or not they need a prescription. This way, your doctor can make sure they won't affect each other.
Nov. 21, 2023
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- Complementary, alternative, or integrative health: What's in a name? National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/integrative-health/. Accessed March 14, 2023.
- AskMayoExpert. Integrative medicine overview. Mayo Clinic; 2022.
- Questions are the answer: Be more engaged in your healthcare. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. https://www.ahrq.gov/questions/be-engaged/index.html. Accessed March 14, 2023.
- 4 medication safety tips for older adults. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/4-medication-safety-tips-older-adults. Accessed March 14, 2023.
- Mixing medications and dietary supplements can endanger your health. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/mixing-medications-and-dietary-supplements-can-endanger-your-health. Accessed March 17, 2023.