Nine Pharmacy Tips

Hebrew Health Care would like to offer tips on how to be knowledgeable when it comes to prescription medications and keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. 

  1. Do not take expired drugs- OTC (over the counter) or Rx.  They may be less effective, or they may even have harmful effects if taken after expiration date.
  2. Don’t store drugs in medicine cabinet.  Ironically your “medicine cabinet” or a cabinet over your kitchen sink or stove is the worse place to store medications because of the hot moist air, or heat from below.  This speeds up drugs expiration.  Store drugs in a cool dry place; unless the bottle is labeled to store some other way (such as refrigerator).
  3. Do not share medicines.  What worked great for you may be harmful to another family member or friend, or it may not work at all.  It could also interact with other medications that person is taking.  The reason some drugs require an Rx is that most people, i.e. those not trained in a healthcare profession with the authority to prescribe, may not be able to use the drug safely and effectively without the help of a  trained healthcare professional.
  4. OTC Medications are safe ONLY if you follow the instructions on the label and familiarize yourself with all information on the label.  You should know what is in the bottle before you take it.
  5. Prior to each healthcare provider visit, be sure you know if you’ll need more of any prescription before your next visit.  Even if you have refills left on your prescription, prescriptions are valid for one year maximum from the date written (by your healthcare provider).
  6. Generic prescriptions contain the same active ingredients as brand name drugs, but are manufactured by a different company.  Both generic and brand name drugs must have a specific dose of the active ingredients within a dosing range.  Also, some manufacturers produce a specific generic for multiple generic drug companies that market their own brand.  Sometimes they use the generic name, and sometimes they create their own name.  Some companies that manufacture brands also market generics.  However, if the ingredients are the same and are listed at the same doses, you can assume it is the same drug.  Your pharmacist will be sure that the generic used can replace the brand, and it will result in the same (blood) level of drug in your system, or same amount absorbed through your skin.
  7. If you have any questions about your prescription or OTC (over the counter) drugs, vitamins, or supplements— ask your pharmacist.  They welcome such questions and most enjoy sharing their vast knowledge with you.  Also, check the prescription while still at the pharmacy if at all possible.  If the color and/or shape of your prescription looks different, ask your pharmacist about it.   Usually it will be due to a different manufacturer or the manufacturer     changing the look of the pill, but it is also good to check to be sure the prescription is filled properly.  Even if it has been the same every single time in the past, a quick 10 second check is an excellent investment of your time and could save you a trip back to the pharmacy.
  8. Keep all medications— OTC (over the counter) or prescription out of the reach of children.  Young children love to put things in their mouths and your prescription drug should not be one of them.
  9. When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for you, remember: Start taking the antibiotic as directed as soon as possible.  Even if you start feeling better in a couple days, take the entire prescription if it is for a pre-set length of time (i.e. 3-30 days).  Be sure you know how long the doctor wants you to take the antibiotic and follow those exact directions.  Take the antibiotic as close or as possible to the same time/s each day.