Pill Principles

Are your cabinets overflowing with medicine bottles? Join the club — the average American fills more than 12 prescriptions annually. Add in vitamins/supplements, and it’s easy to get lost in a maze of pills. Avoid a wrong turn with these precautions:

  • Make sure your doctor and pharmacist know exactly which prescription and nonprescription items you take
  • Follow your doctor’s orders — be sure you clearly understand dosing instructions and why you’re taking the medication
  • Avoid storing pills in extreme heat or cold, as this lessens their effectiveness
  • Keep medication out of the reach of children (and pets); call poison control if anyone swallows something they shouldn’t have
  • Human error is always possible, so it’s smart to double check that you receive the correct medicine; also, pills occasionally change shape or size — check with your pharmacist if you notice a difference
  • Read the prescription enclosure for potential side effects and drug interaction warnings
  • Set a reliable schedule so you won’t forget to take your medication — a daily pill organizer can help.

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