October is Talk About Your Medicines Month — an opportunity to learn about the medications you take and how they may promote better health outcomes. The key to being an empowered healthcare consumer is to be proactive in asking questions to seek clarity and get the information you need.
Start the Conversation
The following questions can help guide a conversation with your provider or pharmacist and help ensure you are maximizing the benefits of your medications and minimizing the risks.
- What is the name of this medicine?
- What is it for?
- What time of day should I take it?
- Should I take this medicine on an empty stomach or with food?
- Should I avoid any activities, foods, drinks, alcohol or other medicines while taking this prescription?
- What are the potential side-effects?
- Will this medication work safely with my other prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and other supplements?
- When should I expect it to begin to work, and how will I know if it is working?
- How should I store it?
- Is there any additional information I should know?
Practice Medication Safety
- Keep an updated list of all your medications. The list should include prescriptions, non-prescriptions, vitamins and supplements. Make sure your provider and/or pharmacy has an updated list of the medicines you take. In case of an accident or emergency, make sure a loved one has an up-to-date copy of your medicine list too.
- Read labels and other educational aids carefully. Prescription medication labels have limited space, so read the package insert or information sheet that comes with it to get all the facts.
- Don’t share or borrow medicines. Prescriptions are meant for you and you alone. Sharing or borrowing prescriptions is not only dangerous, but illegal.
- Store medications in a secure location, out of reach and sight of children, curious family members, houseguests and pets. They should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. Be sure to check package instructions, as some may require refrigeration.
- Do not stop taking your medications without direction from your provider. Stopping a medication on your own can put you at risk for your symptoms or condition to recur or even worsen. Always talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist before making changes to a drug regimen.
Learn more about Talk About Your Medicines Month at bemedwise.org.
Questions? Call Express Scripts at (877) 438-4449.