9 Prescription Safety Tips
Follow these tips to make sure you’re getting the greatest benefit from your medications.
It's important to be able to take the medicines at the right time of day at the right dosage because those are the levels that are effective for you.
There are lots of tips and tricks for taking your medicines regularly, whether it's using a mediset and a box that actually organizes your medicines, or just having a reminder that lets you know it's time to take your meds.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your medication.
Take your medication as directed.
Always ask questions if you don’t understand anything about the instructions, and never take a bigger or smaller dose.
If you are have any concerns about your medication, bring them up to your doctor, who may be able to help.
Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first.
It can be very dangerous to stop taking some prescriptions abruptly.
If you feel like a prescription is causing unwanted side effects, talk to your doctor. There might be another medication that will work for you.
Update your medication list regularly.
The list should include prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and vitamins.
Note the dosage and how often you take it. Also include the phone number of your pharmacy. If you see more than one doctor or have recently been to the emergency room or hospital, share the list with all of them.
At every visit, ask each doctor to review the list with you to make sure you’re on a safe and appropriate combination of medications.
Dispose of medicines safely.
If you no longer need a certain medication or if it’s expired, don’t just throw it in the trash or flush it down the toilet.
There are collection sites across the country. You can find one by calling the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at 1-800-882-9539. You can also ask your pharmacist or local law enforcement officials.
Never share medicines.
There’s a reason your doctor recommended these medications at these doses for you. If you’re struggling to afford your prescriptions or you have a question about the dosing, speak up to your doctor.
Whether you use a chart, a pill organizer, or set alarms on your phone, reminders are a good way to make sure you never miss a dose.
Another trick: Store your medicine next to your coffee maker or toothbrush so you’ll see them at the same time every day.
Check the expiration date.
Especially if it’s a medication you don’t use every day, check the expiration date before taking it.
The drug may no longer be effective and might even be harmful after the expiration date.
Stay in touch with your doctor.
It’s important to see your doctor for annual wellness visits and not only when you’re ill.
During these visits, your physician may adjust your medications depending on changes in your health. Discuss your health goals and what’s important to you often, as they may influence the number and type of medications you are prescribed.
Ask about supplements and herbal remedies.
Some can interact dangerously with prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
It’s best to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking anything new—even if it’s labeled “all-natural” or “organic.”
Part D Prescription Drug Benefits from Clover Health
At Clover Health, our Medicare Advantage plans include Part D prescription drug benefits. If you’re a Clover Health member, visit our formulary page to see what drugs Clover covers in your area for medically necessary purposes.
If you aren’t a Clover member but you have any other questions about our prescription benefits and Medicare Advantage plans, give us a call at 1-800-836-6890. We’re available from 8 am to 8 pm local time, 7 days a week.*
This article was originally published in the winter 2022 issue of Clover Living magazine.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan
Published on 3/15/23
Photo credit: Getty