Private Physicians of SouthWest Florida
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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Taking Medication SafelyMedidas de seguridad para tomar los medicamentos

Taking Medicine Safely

Image of medicine cabinet
Store medicines in a cool, dry, dark place, such as a high cupboard, away from moisture or heat.

Medicine is given to help treat or prevent illness. But if you don't take it correctly, it might not help. It might even harm you. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you learn the right way to take your medicine. Listed below are some tips to help you take medicine safely.

Safety Tips

  • Have a routine for taking each medicine. Make it part of something you do each day, such as brushing your teeth or eating a meal.

  • When you go to the hospital or your doctor's office, bring all your current medicines in their original boxes or bottles. If you can't do that, bring an up-to-date list of your medicines.

  • Do not stop taking a prescription medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Doing so could make your condition worse.

  • Do not share medicines.

  • Let your doctor and pharmacist know of any allergies you have.

  • Taking prescription medicines with alcohol, street drugs, herbs, supplements, or even some over-the-counter medicines can be harmful. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these things while taking a prescription medicine.

  • When filling your prescriptions, try using the same pharmacy for all your medicines. If not, let the pharmacist know what medicines you are already on.

  • Keep medicines out of the reach of children and pets.

  • Do not use medicine that has expired or that doesn't look or smell right. Get rid of it properly. To find out the right way to get rid of medicine:

    • Call your city or county government's household trash and recycling service and ask if a drug take-back program is available in your community.

    • Call your local pharmacy and ask the right way to get rid of the medicine.

    • Go to to learn how to get rid of medicines safely.

Using Generic Medicines

Medicines have brand names and generic (chemical) names. When a medicine is first made, it is sold only under its brand name. Later, it can be made and sold as a generic. Generic medicines cost less than brand-name medicines and most work just as well. Most people can use the generic medicine instead of the brand-name medicine, unless their doctor says otherwise.

Publication Source: National Institutes on Health - Senior Health

Publication Source: Food and Drug Administration

Publication Source: National Institute on Aging

Online Source: National Institutes on Health - Senior Health

Online Source: Food and Drug Administration

Online Source: National Institute on Aging

Date Last Reviewed: 2005-12-06T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2009-12-08T00:00:00-07:00


Dr West took such wonderful care of my husband Dick and that care extended his life by years. I continue to be fortunate to have him helping me to stay healthy. I wish there was a way for everyone to experience that quality of medicine.

By the way in the last two days this office is the only place that took my temperature before they would let me in. Shell Point and another doctors' office just ask you the questions as to where you have been lately.

Keep up the good work! PH

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Bonita Springs, Florida 34134

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Clewiston, Florida 33440

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