Safe use of medications
Ask your doctor about:
- what medicines you need to take.
- why you need to take them.
- how and when to take the medicines.
- how long you need to take them.
- the effect of this medicine if you are already taking another type of medicine.
- the side effects of the medicine.
- dealing with side effects.
- how to store your medicines.
Tips for safe use of medications:
- List them down
- Keep an up-to-date list of all medicines that you take.
- all prescription drugs
- over-the-counter medicines (medicine you can buy without a prescription)
- herbal medicines
- List down:
- how much and how often you take each one
- start and stop date
- reason for taking the medicine
- who prescribed each one
- Take this list with you on your next doctor’s appointment.
- Keep all medicines in their original containers.
- The label on the bottle contains important information about the medicine.
Organize and keep track
- Do not share your medicines with other people.
- It can cause them harm.
- If you take several prescription pills at different times in a day:
- use a day-of-the-week pill box
- ask for your pharmacist’s help to organize your medicines
- your pharmacist can help you keep track of your dosage
- ask about “bubble packaging” or blister packs
Keep them locked
- Store medicine in a dry place at room temperature.
- Keep medicines out of reach of children, teens and pets.
- Lock your medicine cabinet to ensure safety.
- If you take medicine regularly, ask about refills.
- Ask the most number of pills you can have per purchase.
- Refill before you run out of medication.
- Take left-over medicine back to the pharmacy. They can safely destroy it.
- Ask your pharmacist for safe ways to dispose drugs you no longer use.
Source: Safe use of medications – It’s Safe to Ask. Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety.
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Report medicine side effects to the Canada Vigilance Program.
Call toll free at 1-866-234-2345 or go to the Government of Canada site.
You can help save a life.
Read Know your 9 patient rights and responsibilities.
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