Home > Health Library > Staying Safe When You Take Several Medicines
Older adults and people with long-term diseases often need to take a lot of pills.
That can cause problems. If you take more than one medicine that
works the same way, you could get too high a dose. Sometimes medicines work against each other .
So it's really important to ask every doctor you visit to look at your complete list of medicines. With your help, your doctor can make sure that all of the medicines you take work well together. And you can also make sure that you're not taking any pills you no longer need.
The more medicines you take, the greater your
chance of having problems. Problems may be more likely if:
Just about anything you take counts, whether your doctor prescribed it or you bought it over the counter.
Many people don't understand that herbs,
home remedies, diet supplements, and vitamins can have strong effects on the body.
For example, ginseng and garlic supplements may raise
your chance of bleeding. They could be dangerous if you take aspirin or
warfarin, which can also raise the chance of bleeding.
Make a list of everything you take. Don't forget pills like cold medicine or aspirin. Keep a copy in your
purse or wallet.
Take the list to each doctor or hospital visit. Some doctors like you to bring all your pill bottles with you.
Follow directions about how much medicine to take and when to take it. Know what side effects to watch out for.
Keep track of your refills and when you need to pick them up.
Ask your doctor if there are any medicines you should not take.
It's a good idea to ask your doctor this question regularly—maybe every 6 months or every year.
But never stop taking medicine without asking your doctor first.
Never take any kind of medicine without asking
your doctor or pharmacist about it.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to run
your list of medicines through a drug interaction checker. This is a computer program that
checks for drugs that can cause problems when you take them together.
If you go to more than one, make sure
each has a complete list of all your medicines.
Before you fill any new prescription, ask if the new medicine could cause problems with pills you're already taking.
Current as of:
October 2, 2013
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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