Being safe with your medicines
Talk to your health providers
Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the medicines you are taking, so that you can avoid clashes (when two medicines together might be bad for you). They can tell you what medicines or foods to avoid.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, tell your doctor or pharmacist so you can be sure that the medicine will not harm you or the baby.
Read the label and follow instructions
Make sure you read and understand the label – for example “Take each dose on an empty stomach” or “Avoid alcohol” – and ask if you’re not sure.
Check the expiry date – old or outdated medicines may not work or can make you sick.
Take the correct amount
Too much of a medicine can be harmful and too little of a medicine can be harmful or may not work.
Don’t take someone else’s medicine
Taking the wrong medicine, or medicine with someone else’s name on it, is a very bad idea.
Be careful about mixing medicines
Different medicines are sometimes ‘teamed up’ together to be more effective in treating conditions (such as blood pressure, diabetes or bacterial throat infection), but sometimes medicines can interact with other medicines or foods so that they don’t work as well, or cause side effects.
Finish all the medicine you have been given
This is very important if you are taking antibiotics. Your symptoms might have gone away but you may still have the bacteria that caused the problem. They could multiply and infect you again. They could also breed other bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotic.
Remember your medication card
This is your personal record of all the medicines you take. Make sure it is up to date and take it with you every time you visit your doctor or pharmacy, or go to hospital.
Last updated: 24 February 2017