Keeping track of your medications and taking them correctly will help you avoid problems.

Learn how to maintain your medications with these helpful tips to prevent medicine errors and harmful side effects.

Know Your Medications

Understand what your prescription medications are for and if they have side effects. 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, even if they are herbal supplements. Know what your medications look like and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any changes to your medication appearance. Remind your doctor of any allergies and drug interactions you may have.

Take 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 with an inhaler or eye dropper, ask the pharmacist for more information. Never take someone else’s medication.

Store Your Medications Properly

Drugs should typically be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Some medications need to be refrigerated. Avoid keeping medications in a bathroom medicine cabinet or a hot car. Keep drugs in their original containers. Keep medicines on a high shelf out of reach of children and pets.

Discard Expired or Unneeded Drugs

Dispose of unwanted or expired medications by taking them to a local drug take-back site. Many pharmacies have drug drop-off kiosks where you can dispose of unused medication safely. Or ask your pharmacist how to safely dispose of medications at home.

Always contact your physician if you have any issues taking your medications, especially if side effects occur at any point in taking a medication.