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Not using medicines correctly can lead to problems with heart failure. Here are some helpful tips to prevent medicine errors and harmful side effects.

Know What Medications You are Taking and Why

It’s extremely important to understand your all prescription medications, not just medication you are taking for your heart. Consider keeping an up-to-date list of your medications to take to your doctor appointments. Include any over-the-counter drugs and supplements you take. Supplements, vitamins or herbal, can also interact with medication.

Be familiar with what your medications look like. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any changes to your medication appearance. Remind your prescriber of any allergies you may have.

Take Your Medicine as Prescribed

Medicines work only if they are taken correctly and consistently. Know the correct time and dose to take and whether it needs to be taken with food. If you are not sure how to take a prescribed medication, such as an inhaler or eye drop, ask the pharmacist for more information.

Never take someone else’s medication.

Store Your Medications Properly

Medications should typically be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. You may also have medications that need to be refrigerated. Avoid keeping medications in a bathroom medicine cabinet or a hot car. Keep drugs in their original containers with the lids on tight. Don’t put them into other bottles.

Always store medications away from young children and pets on a high shelf out of reach.

Do Not Keep Expired or Unneeded Drugs

Dispose of unwanted medications by bringing them to a local drug take-back site, or asking your pharmacist for instructions on safely disposing at home. Many pharmacies will collect unused or expired medication in a safe medication disposal container in their stores.

Keeping track of your medications will help you avoid interactions or taking the wrong dosage.