Medicines can help you get well, avoid illness, or reduce symptoms associated with a disease. By learning more about the appropriate use of a medicine, its benefits, and side effects, you can become an active participant in discussions held by your healthcare team.

Here are a few tips to help you become a well-informed patient:

  • Ask your healthcare professional what to expect from your medicine: Such as what side effects may occur, whether any follow-up testing or monitoring will be needed, and when to expect an improvement
  • Read the label and follow instructions: Pay attention to warnings about side effects. Notice instructions concerning mixing medicines and avoiding certain activities while you’re using them
  • Know your medicine: Know the names and dosages of all the medicines you take and the conditions they treat. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all the medicines that you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some medicines may interact with each other, may not work as well, or may cause serious side effects.
  • Remember your medical history: Inform your physician of prior allergies, sensitivities, or side effects experienced; also mention any other health conditions and over-the-counter medications and supplements since there could be safety issues to be considered for use with other health conditions and medications or supplements.
  • Follow the timing and dosage instructions on your prescription: Consult with your physician if you have doubts or concerns
  • Keep track of a medicine’s effects on your body and mind: Write down any changes and consult your physician

Have questions?

View these frequently asked questions about patient medication >