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Medicine-Related Problems

What problems are caused by medicine?

As you get older, you may have more health problems. The more medicines you take to treat these problems, the greater your risk of side effects and drug interactions. Side effects can be mild and you might think some of them are just a normal part of getting older, or that a health problem is getting worse. But side effects or other medicine problems can sometimes be corrected by changing your medicine or changing the dosage.

If you think you may be having problems with any medicines you are taking, talk to your healthcare provider.

Why do medicines sometimes cause problems?

Many medicines are harmful if you take too much or too little. Any one medicine can cause side effects, but if you take more than one medicine at a time, there’s a greater chance of side effects. Medicines can interact with other medicines and change the way one or both medicines work. Many medicines can also make you sick if you forget and take extra doses. And if you take too little, they may not work as well as they should. This is true for all medicines, including prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins.

How can I help prevent medicine-related problems?

  • Follow the directions that come with your medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when to take your medicine. Do not take more or less than you are supposed to take.
  • Try to get all of your prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your medicines are safe to take together.
  • Ask your pharmacist to help you choose the best nonprescription medicines or supplements. Always read the directions on the medicine label.
  • Keep a list of your medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all of the products you are taking.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. It can be mild and harmless or it can be dangerous. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-10-25
Last reviewed: 2013-07-14
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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