Seniors and Medications

Medication Tips

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Check the Label

  • Before taking your medicine, check the label to make sure it is the correct bottle. Do not take medication in the dark; it is easy to make a mistake when you cannot see what you are taking.
  • Always follow the label directions carefully for over-the-counter medications. For prescription medications, follow directions given by your doctor. If you are unsure about how to take your medication, ask your pharmacist or call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Check expiration dates on the bottle.  If out-of-date, do not use it and dispose of it properly.

Talk to your Doctor, Nurse, or Pharmacist

  • When picking up your prescriptions, make sure you understand how and when to take your prescriptions.  Tell your pharmacist about any over-the-counter or herbal medications you take.  Some of these may interact with your new prescription.
  • Some medications should not be used with alcohol. Be sure to ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about drinking any type of alcohol with your new prescription. 
  • Some medications may have food interactions or should be taken before, during, or after meals.  Check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist regarding any special instructions about foods and your medications.
  • If you have any new symptoms or questions after starting a new medication, contact the health care professional who prescribed it. If they are unavailable, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for free, confidential, 24/7 service by a specially trained pharmacist.  

Use Medication Reminders

  • List all the medications you are currently taking in a common place.  This will help you and any health care or emergency medical providers know what you are currently taking.  This includes over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, and supplements or herbal remedies.  
  • Writing your medication schedule a calendar or log can help you keep track of your medication schedule.
  • Pill minders or dispensers are also useful in keeping track of your medication schedule. Remember to put them up high and out of sight if you have children visiting or living with you.

Protect Children Visiting your Home

  • Most serious exposures in children occur when grandparents visit grandchildren or grandchild are visiting grandparents' homes. 
  • Store all medications up high and out-of-sight, or preferably locked up. 
  • Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately if a child accesses any medication.  

Other Helpful Information

  • Never share medication. Medication prescribed for one person may be harmful if taken by others.
  • If you don't have small children around, you may request to have your medications put into easy-open containers.

 

 

MN Poison Control System

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PoisonHelp@hcmed.org 1-800-222-1222 mnpoison.org

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