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Most of us have to take medication at one time or another. We’ve all heard horror stories of drug reactions or people taking the wrong medication and ending up in the hospital. Or worse.

Medication is supposed to make your life better. It should not be an extra cause for stress. By answering the following questions each time you take a new drug, you can reduce the risk of problems.

Question #1: Did you get this prescription from a friend, relative or pharmacist or someone who is not a qualified doctor? If the answer is yes, do not take the drug. See your doctor before taking the drug.

Question #2: Check on the name of the drug. Is the name on the drug strip or bottle the same as that on the prescription? Check on the generic (medical) name of the drug. If the answer is no, contact your doctor before taking the drug. It only takes a few minutes to verify that you have the right drug. Those minutes could save your life.

Question #3: Have you previously taken this drug and had a reaction or side effect to it? If the answer is yes, do not take the drug. Contact your doctor and let him or her know that you have had a reaction to the drug. In a best case scenario, you should make your doctor aware of any previous reactions before he or she gives you the prescription.

Question #4: You should have gotten a leaflet that explains what the drug does and who should and shouldn’t be using the drug. Look at the list of people who shouldn’t be taking the drug. Does any of the items described apply to you?
If the answer is yes, do not take the drug and contact your doctor.

Question #5: Are you pregnant or breast feeding? If the answer is yes, read the section of the leaflet that refers to pregnancy and breast feeding. This will tell you if it the drug is safe for you or not. When in doubt, contact your doctor before taking the drug.


Question #6: Is the person taking the drug an infant or a child under 16 years of age? If the answer is yes, look at the information leaflet. There should be a section about giving the drug to children. Pay attention to any recommendations or precautions that apply to your situation. If you are not sure, contact your doctor before taking the drug.


Question #7: Are you taking any other medicines or drugs at the same time as this one? If the answer is yes, look at the information leaflet. There should be a section that describes interactions with other drugs. Pay attention to any recommendations or precautions that apply to you. If you are not sure, contact your doctor before taking the drug.

Question #8: Check the recommended dose. Is it correct? If the answer is No, contact your doctor before taking the drug.

Once you’ve answered all the above questions and you are sure you have the right medicine for you, go ahead and use the drug as prescribed.