- Don’t share your medications. You may think you are helping out a friend when you lend your medications to another in need, but you could be risking your own life and theirs. Your medications are prescribed to you and may not be appropriate for someone else. Instead, help them find resources to get the meds they need by calling 211.
- Don’t forget to tell your doctor and pharmacist what vitamins and over-the-counter drugs you take. Vitamins and common over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen can affect your body’s systems and how well your body absorbs your medication.
- Don’t skip doses. Take your medication as prescribed or it may not work. Some medications have to build up in your body before they take effect, and others need to be taken at the same time every day.
- Don’t split pills unless your doctor or pharmacist has told you to. Some medications are less effective if you split them. Certain medications have special coatings that help them work in your body longer. If you break the coating, they may not work as they’re supposed to.
- Don’t wait until you’re out to get refills. Make sure to get your refills before your medications run out so you won’t miss a dose. You may consider signing up for mail order. It won’t cost extra to have them delivered to your home, unless you ask for urgent delivery.
- Don’t forget to ask your pharmacist questions. Your pharmacist is an expert on medications and how they interact with each other. Take advantage of their expertise and ask any questions you have about your drugs.
- Don’t forget to ask for 90-day refills. Switching from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply can make it easier to never miss a dose and will often save you money.
- Don’t keep any medications in your car (including EpiPens and inhalers). Heat and frost can change or inactivate your medications. If you need to carry medications for emergencies, carry them with you in a purse or bag.
- Don’t leave medications in the reach of children or pets. Be especially careful what you put in the trash. Your pets could get into your trash and ingest medicine. To find an authorized disposal site for medicine, call the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539.
Nelida Rivera is a registered nurse at the Florida Blue Center in Winter Haven where she teaches free health and wellness classes that are open to the public in addition to providing health coaching and assessments.