Taking care as you take your medicine

Man and woman taking care

Tips on finding out as much as you can about the medication you are taking.

At the doctor's

Before seeing your doctor consider having a medication review with your pharmacist. They will provide you with a complete list of all the medications you are taking, including your non-prescription medications, vitamins and natural medicines.

Before starting any medication, it is important that you know the most about the medication you are taking. We’ve pulled together a list of some key points you might want to consider asking your doctor or pharmacist about any new medication:

  • What is the brand and drug name of my medication?
  • Why am I taking it?
  • How much should I take and how often?
  • Is there a best time to take it?
  • Should it be taken with or without food?
  • How long will I need to take it?
  • Are there potential side effects, and what should I do if they happen?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Does this medication interact with my other medications?
  • Does this medication replace anything else I am been taking?
  • Where and how should I store it?
  • How soon should I start to feel better?
  • When should I report back to my healthcare professional?
  • Should I avoid any liquids, foods, other substances or activities while using this medicine?

At the pharmacy

When you go to the pharmacy to pick up your medication, consider asking your pharmacist to answer any of the questions you may have about this medication.

The pharmacist should also advise you on how and when to take it. They will give you an information sheet about your medicine.

Your pharmacist will help you understand the information you have been given about the medicine. Remember your pharmacist is there to help answer any of the questions you may have.

When you buy medication over-the-counter without a prescription, it’s always best to talk to your pharmacist. There are many medications that can be a problem with common over-the-counter medications.

At the hospital

Before going to the hospital have a complete list of your medications and if they ask you, bring your medication in their original pill bottles. 

Many of the same questions we talked about in the ‘At the doctor’s’ section apply at the hospital too. It’s always best to ask if you’re unsure – nothing is trivial if it’s bothering you.

There are also a few extra things to bear in mind when you’re at the hospital. It sounds obvious to say but it’s crucial you don’t let anyone give you medication without them first checking your hospital identification bracelet. This will help ensure you don’t get someone else's medication.

If you’re having a test or a procedure, it’s a good idea to ask if it will require any dyes or medicines in case you’re allergic to anything they’re intending to use.

When it’s time for you to leave hospital, some people find it helpful to ask the doctor, nurse or pharmacist to talk you and/or a family member through each medication. Some of your medications may change when you leave the hospital. Always check with your pharmacist if there are medications you should stop and bring back any unused medications to the pharmacy to destroy them.

At home

Once you’re at home and getting started with your medicine, it’s still really important to follow the instructions you’ve been given.

We all lead busy lives but if medicines are not taken correctly, they might not work properly. So, with that in mind, here are some tips to help make sure your medicine will work as well as it can do:

  • If you keep your medicine in its original, labelled packaging, it means you can identify each one and follow the correct directions for that particular medicine.
  • Don’t store medicines where they might get hot, cold (unless specifically told to keep them in the refrigerator) or damp, because this can cause them to breakdown faster. Direct sunlight can also have an impact.
  • It’s crucial to keep medications where children cannot see or reach them. It’s also important to keep medications for people separate from pet medications or household chemicals.
  • Read the pharmacy medicine information sheet. It will give instructions about how to take the medication. For example, the best time of day to take it and whether it should be taken with food.
  • Be cautious when measuring out liquid medication – ask your pharmacist for a measuring spoon or syringe. Don’t use a household teaspoon because they are not precise enough for medicine.
  • Make a note of doctor and pharmacist phone numbers where you can easily find them.
  • Know what to do if you have side effects from your medicines. Ask your doctor or pharmacist Knowing what to expect and what to do if you have a side effect is always a good idea.
  • Finally, never take another person's prescription medication or let anyone else take yours, even if it appears that they have the same medical condition as you.
  • Before taking any new over-the-counter, vitamin or natural medicine, always check with your doctor of pharmacist to make sure it is safe with your medicines.
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*Teva is not a healthcare provider, and the information contained on this website cannot replace a doctor’s advice or treatment. You should always consult a health professional for advice about treatment or other medical advice for yourself or your loved ones.