A close up of two prescription pill bottles on a table

Medicine can help when used the right way—or hurt when taken the wrong way. Help the person you’re caring for safely take medicine as directed by following these 4 easy steps:

4 steps to better medication safety

  • Get organized. Make accurate records, noting whether a prescription is a brand-name or a generic medicine. Include vitamins, supplements and any allergies to medicines. Keep the record up-to-date. The medication tracker in our Caregiver Toolkit, PDF opens new window can help.
  • Give the medicine chest a checkup. Look for and throw out any old or expired medicines, and any that are no longer needed.
  • Know and follow doctor’s orders. When it comes to your loved one’s medicines, it’s important to understand and follow doctor’s instructions.
  • Make sure your loved one’s primary doctor knows about other medicines he or she is taking, including those prescribed by other doctors. These may be fine, or they may react badly with other medicines. Ask the doctor or pharmacist.

No one expects you to become a medicine expert. But it’s a good idea to know what medicines are prescribed for your loved one, what they do, and what side effects they may have.

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