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How safe are prescription drugs



Prescription drugs can save lives, but they can also be dangerous. If you take prescription medications, it is important to know how to keep yourself safe.


Table of Contents

Don't take anyone else's prescription medications

  • Do not take a prescription medication if it was prescribed for someone else. Even if you think the dosage is the same, don’t risk it.
  • Don’t take prescription drugs that are expired or have been tampered with, even if they look fine.


Don't skip doses

It’s also important to take your medication as prescribed. If you skip doses, the medicine won’t be effective. 

If you stop taking your medication before the course is complete, it could cause a relapse or a more serious infection than you had originally. 

Also, don’t take more than the recommended dose of any drug unless instructed by your doctor.

You should never stop taking any prescription drug without talking to your doctor first—especially if you are taking several medications at once.


Don't stop taking medication before you finish the prescribed course of treatment

The most important thing to remember is don’t stop taking medication until you have finished the prescribed course of treatment. 

Stopping your medication before finishing the course of treatment can lead to relapse. 

In addition, it may not be as effective if you stop taking it too soon and if you stop taking it too soon, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

If you’re in doubt about whether or not to continue taking your medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist!


Talk to your doctor before you stop taking your medication

While we always recommend that you talk to your doctor about any medications, it’s especially important to do so before you stop taking them. 

Your doctor may need to change the amount of medication you take, or switch to another type of drug altogether. 

If possible, don’t stop taking a prescription drug without first talking with your doctor.

In most cases, the benefits of stopping medication outweigh the risks – but not always. 

For instance, when dealing with certain medications like antidepressants and blood thinners (which are prescribed for things like depression and heart disease), stopping cold turkey can cause serious side effects such as seizures or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). 

If you’re taking thyroid hormone replacement therapy or other hormones that affect your body’s functions – such as estrogen replacement therapy after menopause 

– suddenly stopping these medications could result in dangerous outcomes if they are stopped abruptly rather than gradually tapered off over time under medical supervision.


Ask your doctor or pharmacist to check that a new medication will not interact with any other drugs you are taking

When you start a new medication, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist to check that it will not interact with any other drugs you are taking. 

If you are taking several medications, it is especially important to check for interactions.

The following information may help you consider how potentially dangerous these interactions could be:

  • Some drug interactions can cause an increase or decrease in the amount of a certain substance in your body, which may make symptoms worse or cause new ones.


Take your pillbox with you when you travel

The best way to make sure you get the right medication is to take it with you everywhere. 

If you are going on a trip, bring your pillbox along with some extra pills in case something happens and you can’t get more for an extended period. 

It’s also important that if someone else needs to administer your medicine for any reason, they have access to all of the essential information about how to use it properly. 

For example, if someone else is caring for an elderly person who takes multiple medicines each day and has difficulty remembering which one belongs in which dose, it’s a good idea for them to keep track of everything so there are no mistakes made when it comes time for the administration.

Tell your doctor about any allergies, especially to food, insect stings, latex or any medication

Tell your doctor if you have any allergies, especially to food, insect stings, latex, or any medication. If you have an allergy to a drug, tell your doctor before you take it.

Many drugs contain peanuts or peanut oil; tell the pharmacist if the patient has a peanut allergy when ordering medications.

Know the common side effects of drugs and tell your doctor if you experience them.

When you start a new drug, it’s important to be aware of common side effects. Your doctor will probably ask you about them, so be prepared.

If you experience any serious side effects during treatment, tell your doctor immediately. 

Serious side effects can include changes in vision, difficulty breathing, rash, or hives. 

If you have trouble breathing or feel like your heart rate is too slow or too fast (bradycardia), contact someone right away for help by calling an ambulance or going to the emergency department at the nearest hospital.

If a drug causes temporary side effects that aren’t dangerous but make life difficult (for example: feeling drowsy all day), don’t stop taking the medication just because they’re annoying. 

If they are severe enough to affect your daily activities (for example: feeling dizzy when walking down stairs) consider talking with a doctor about switching medications

—but don’t change doses on your own unless directed by the medical staff! 

If a drug causes permanent problems such as sexual dysfunction or infertility issues due to side effects from long-term use then it may be worth switching medications after discussing options with doctors first.


If you take prescription drugs, know how to keep yourself safe!

  • Do not take someone else’s prescription.
  • Make sure you take all of your medication as directed by your doctor. Do not skip doses or stop taking them before finishing the prescribed course of treatment.
  • Talk to your doctor before stopping the use of a medicine that was prescribed if: the drug has been effective for you; there are no other suitable alternative treatments; and/or stopping could cause harm or be dangerous to your health (e.g., sudden discontinuation can lead to seizures).

We hope that these tips have helped you feel more confident about using prescription medications. 

Remember: as with any medication, there are risks and side effects to consider when taking prescription drugs. 

But with proper care and education, you can safely take your medication without incident!


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