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- How well do you know about the drugs you are taking?
- 1. How does the drug work?
- 2. Why did my doctor prescribe this drug?
- 4. What are the possible side effects of the drug?
- 5. Should you use a generic version of the drug?
- 6. What should you expect the drug to do?
- 7. How should the drug be taken?
- 8. What should you do if you miss a dose?
- 9. What foods and substances interact with the drug?
- 10. How should I dispose of any unused drugs?
- 11. Who manufacturers the drug?
How well do you know about the drugs you are taking?
Whether synthetic or natural (herbal), drugs are intended to act on the body. There always is a chance that they will produce effects that we do not want. Moreover, if two or more drugs are taken at the same time, there is a chance that one drug will interact with another drug in either a positive or negative way. This does not imply that the drugs are bad, but rather that they should be used carefully in order to reap the greatest benefit while minimizing unwanted side effects. When used properly, most drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration do more good than harm. Make a list of your questions about the medications you are taking and discuss tany concerns with your doctor.
1. How does the drug work?
Knowing how the drug works provides the rationale for its use in the treatment of a particular disease. This also promotes adherence to treatment.
2. Why did my doctor prescribe this drug?
Drugs often have more than one use. Understanding why a drug is prescribed improves your knowledge about the drug and the condition for which it is prescribed. This promotes compliance with treatment. It is a good idea to write down why each drug was prescribed to share this information with other health-care professionals or caregivers.
4. What are the possible side effects of the drug?
Since drugs provide a benefit by modifying processes in the body, it is not surprising that they also have side effects. Successful drug therapy produces the desired beneficial effect without unbearable side effects. Therefore, it is important to know what a drug's side effects are so that they can be recognized, prevented, and acted upon appropriately when they occur.
5. Should you use a generic version of the drug?
Generic drugs work like the brand name drugs, but they are cheaper. Purchasing a generic instead of the brand name drug can often reduce the cost of therapy while providing the same benefit.
6. What should you expect the drug to do?
Some drugs cure the condition for which they are prescribed while other drugs provide only relief from symptoms. Some drugs provide an immediate benefit while other drugs require more time to be effective. To determine whether the drug is working as intended, it is important to know the expected result and how long it will take to see that result.
7. How should the drug be taken?
The optimal dose and timing of ingestion of a drug is determined by scientific studies. Drugs provide their greatest benefit when they are taken as prescribed. Deviating from the prescribed dose often leads to failure of the therapy or to side effects. However, in some circumstances (for example, when severe side effects occur), changes in dose may be appropriate, but they should be discussed with a health-care professional as soon as possible.
8. What should you do if you miss a dose?
Despite the best of efforts, eventually everyone misses one or more doses of a medication. The remedy for this situation depends on the drug. For some drugs, simply taking the missed dose as soon as possible is appropriate. For other drugs, it is more appropriate to wait and double the next scheduled dose. (However, this can be dangerous with some drugs.) Since the recommendations differ for each drug, knowing the correct remedy can prevent therapy from failing and side effects from occurring.
9. What foods and substances interact with the drug?
Interactions with drugs are common and they can cause side effects or reduce the beneficial effect of the drug. Sometimes, the interaction may promote a beneficial effect. Knowing which interacting agents to avoid while taking a drug (for example, food, and herbal drugs) will prevent failure of therapy and side effects. It is a good idea to let your pharmacist and all health-care professionals know the drugs you are taking so potential drug interactions can be avoided. Also, ask about alternative treatments and how effective they are.
10. How should I dispose of any unused drugs?
To safe guard the health of children, pets, and the environment; and to reduce drug abuse; drugs should be disposed of responsibly.
The FDA recommends the following for safe disposal of unused or expired medications:
- Follow specific recommendations for disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information packet provided with the medication.
- Do not flush drugs down the sink or toilet unless the packet information on the drug specifically instructs to do so.
- Check to see if your community has a drug take-back program that allows the public to bring unused drugs to a specific location for disposal.
- If you do not have access to a disposal program in your area to dispose of unused drugs it is recommended you throw the drugs in the garbage after taking the following steps:
- Remove the drugs from their original container and mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter (this makes the drugs less appealing to pets, children, and people who intentionally dig through trash seeking drugs).
- Place the mixture in a sealable container, can, or bag to prevent leakage.
- Remove all identifying information on the prescription labels so they are unreadable. This helps protect your identify and personal health information.
- Do not give prescription medications to friends or family members. A medication that is effective for you, may be dangerous for someone else.
- Ask your health-care professional or pharmacist if you have any questions about proper disposal of unused or expired medicaitons.
- Disposal of prescription drug disposal methods can be applied to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
- Inquire about any special instructions for disposing the unused or expired medications you have taken.
11. Who manufacturers the drug?
Drug manufacturers often have education materials, programs, and other resources that may help you understand your health condition and its management. They may also have prescription assistance programs.
Latest Medications News
Daily Health News
Important information about your drugs should be reviewed prior to taking any prescription drug. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precauctions, dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug is to be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Related Disease Conditions
What Is Mucus?
Mucus is a normal substance produced by lining tissues in the body. Excess mucus or mucus that is yellow, green, brown, or bloody may indicate a problem. Mucus production may increase when allergies, a cold, flu, cough, or sore throat are present. Antihistamines and cold and flu medications may help alleviate excess mucus. A neti pot may be used to decrease nasal congestion and clear mucus.
Common Medical Abbreviations List
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include: ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease. ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure cap: Capsule. CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea. DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis. DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes HA: Headache IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis JT: Joint N/V: Nausea or vomiting. p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os. q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily. RA: Rheumatoid arthritis SOB: Shortness of breath. T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- isotretinoin (Accutane, Claravis, Amnesteem, Absorica, Zenatane)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- Aldactone (spironolactone)
- fexofenadine (Allegra, Mucinex Allergy)
- zolpidem (Ambien)
- amiodarone, Cordarone, Nextrone, Pacerone
- amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag, Larotid)
- flurbiprofen (Ansaid)
- estradiol, Alora, Climara, Delestrogen, Depo-Estradiol, Divigel, Elestrin, Estrace, and Others
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
- timolol (Betimol)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- buspirone (Buspar)
- captopril (Capoten)
- Carafate (sucralfate)
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Tiazac, Cartia XT, Diltzac, Dilt-CD, and several oth)
- cefprozil (Cefzil)
- Cipro, Cipro XR (ciprofloxacin) Antibiotic Side Effects
- loratadine, Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children's Claritin
- clozapine (Clozaril, Fazacio ODT, Versacloz)
- codeine (for Pain)
- colestipol (Colestid)
- nadolol (Corgard)
- warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
- losartan (Cozaar)
- misoprostol, Cytotec
- oxaprozin (Daypro)
- dexamethasone (Decadron, DexPak)
- Didronel (etidronate)
- Diflucan (fluconazole)
- salsalate, Amigesic, Salflex, Argesic-SA, Marthritic, Salsitab, Artha-G
- venlafaxine, Effexor XR (Effexor has been discontinued in the US)
- amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
- erythromycin (Ery-Tab, PCE)
- metronidazole (Flagyl, Flagyl ER) Antibiotic
- glipizide (Glipizide XL, Glucotrol)
- hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide, Hydrodiuril)
- sumatriptan, Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose System, Sumavel DosePro
- isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil Titradose)
- Keflex (cephalexin)
- digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxin Pediatric)
- furosemide (Lasix)
- levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl)
- chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride and clidinium bromide (Librax)
- Lipitor (atorvastatin)
- gemfibrozil (Lopid)
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- benazepril (Lotensin HTC)
- Lotrel (amlodipine and benazepril)
- fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- meclofenamate (Meclomen)
- mesalamine (Pentasa, Rowasa, SfRowasa, Lialda, Canasa, Apriso, Delzicol)
- calcitonin (Miacalcin)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- fenoprofen (Nalfon)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- gabapentin (Neurontin)
- amlodipine (Norvasc)
- Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen, Roxicet, Tylox, Oxycet)
- phentermine (Adipex-P)
- prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos) Corticosteroid
- prednisolone (Orapred, Pediapred)
- lansoprazole (Heartburn Relief 24 Hour, Heartburn Treatment 24 Hour, Prevacid 24)
- omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid)
- procainamide, Pronestyl; Procan-SR; Procanbid (These brands no longer are available in the U.S.)
- nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat, Afeditab)
- quinidine (Discontinued Brands: Cardioquine, Cin-Quin, Duraquin, Quinidex, Quinora, Quinact)
- metoclopramide, Reglan, Metozolv ODT, (Reglan ODT, Octamide, and Maxolon
- bitolterol mesylate, Tornalate
- propafenone (Rythmol)
- minoxidil (Rogaine)
- Sectral (acebutolol)
- nefazodone (Serzone)
- cefixime (Suprax)
- tamoxifen (Soltamox, Nolvadex)
- carbamazepine, Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol, Teril
- pentoxifylline (Trental, Pentoxil)
- triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide
- choline magnesium salicylate, Trilisate
- tramadol (Ultram)
- beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler (Qvar)
- penicillin V
- albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil)
- hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin, Norco)
- diazepam (Valium, Diastat, Acudial, Diastat Pediatric, Diazepam Intensol)
- alprazolam (Xanax)
- lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil, Qbrelis) ACE Inhibitor
- azithromycin (Zithromax): Potential COVID-19 Combo Drug
- Zocor (simvastatin)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim)
- loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Alavert Allergy & Sinus, Claritin-D, Claritin-D 24 hour)
- ipratropium bromide inhaler (Atrovent)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- temazepam (Restoril)
- isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur, Ismo, Monoket)
- metformin (Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Fortamet, Riomet)
- nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- betamethasone dipropionate, Diprolene; Diprolene AF
- Lotrisone (clotrimazole and betamethasone topical cream and lotion)
- Primsol (trimethoprim)
- cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix, Fexmid)
- Valtrex (valacyclovir)
- terconazole (Terazol, Zazole)
- mupirocin (Bactroban, Centany)
- tretinoin (Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Renova, Avita)
- fluticasone (Flonase, Flonase Allergy Relief)
- estropipate, Ogen
- Trazodone (Desyrel)
- promethazine and codeine, Phenergan with Codeine
- bisoprolol (Zebeta)
- dicyclomine, Bentyl
- nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin, Macrobid)
- Viagra (sildenafil)
- lithium (Lithobid)
- timolol ophthalmic solution (Timoptic)
- clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS)
- carisoprodol (Soma)
- desipramine (Norpramin)
- Oxycodone for Pain (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond)
- medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)
- budesonide nasal inhaler (Rhinocort Allergy, Rhinocort Aqua)
- imipramine (Tofranil)
- loperamide (Imodium)
- diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil)
- benzonatate (Tessalon Perles)
- Evista (raloxifene)
- Beta Blockers (Drug Class, List of Brand and Generic Names)
- tacrolimus (Prograf, Astagraf XL, Envarsus XR)
- baclofen (Gablofen, Lioresal)
- fentanyl patch (Duragesic)
- rimantadine, Flumadine
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Levaquin (levofloxacin) Antibiotic
- felodipine (Plendil)
- Amaryl (glimepiride)
- hydrocortisone valerate
- diphenhydramine, Benadryl
- hydroxyzine (Vistaril)
- zafirlukast (Accolate)
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Cox-2 Inhibitors
- chlorpheniramine and hydrocodone, Tussionex, TussiCaps, Tussionex Pennkinetic, Vituz
- mirtazapine (Remeron, Soltab)
- repaglinide (Prandin)
- montelukast, Singulair
- chlorthalidone (Thalitone)
- atenolol and chlorthalidone, Tenoretic
- bepridil (Vascor)
- clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix)
- pramoxine (Itch-X, PrameGel, Orax, Sarna Sensitive, and Others)
- simethicone, Phazyme, Mi-Acid, Gas Relief, Mytab Gas, Gas-X, Gas-X Extra Strength
- Interferon: Potential COVID-19 Treatment
- orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
- Actos (pioglitazone)
- oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
- zanamivir (Relenza)
- cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
- carvedilol (Coreg)
- cefdinir (Omnicef has been discontinued)
- budesonide (oral inhalation, Pulmicort, Pulmicort Flexhaler)
- risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
- triazolam (Halcion)
- haloperidol (Haldol)
- pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Flomax (tamsulosin)
- Retrovir (zidovudine, ZDV, formerly called AZT)
- Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine)
- meloxicam (Mobic) Side Effects
- Herceptin (trastuzumab)
- lamivudine (3tc) (Epivir; Epivir HBV)
- alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)
- rituximab (Rituxan)
- lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra): Potential COVID-19 Drug
- chlorpropamide, Diabinese
- Oxycodone vs. Tramadol for Pain
- Tramadol (Ultram) Side Effects
- Anxiolytics (for Anxiety) Drug Class Side Effects
- Aspirin vs. Plavix (clopidogrel)
Prevention & Wellness
- U.S. Women More Likely to Skip Meds Than Men, Study Finds
- COVID-19 Fears Had Sick, Injured Americans Avoiding ERs
- Will the Telemedicine Boom Outlast the Pandemic?
- Tech Is Keeping More Americans in Touch With Doctors
- High Costs Lead Millions of Americans to Shop Abroad for Rx Drugs
- COVID Fears Keeping Americans From Vital Doctor Visits
- FDA OKs Second Treatment for Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder
- Pandemic Is Changing Your Next Doc Appointment
- Pandemic Having More Impact on U.S. Hospitals Than Thought: Study
- Nationwide Shortages Looming for Respirators, Masks, Gowns: Expert Poll
- The Doctor Gap: In Areas of Greatest Need, Primary Care Is a Team Effort
- The Doctor Gap: Mental Health Care Providers?
- The Doctor Gap: A Training Program for Country-Doc Wannabes
- With New Boost From Medicare, 'Telemedicine' Steps Up to Fight Coronavirus
- The Doctor Gap: Does America Have a Physician Shortage?
- Poll Finds Many Americans Heeding Advice on Coronavirus
- Doctors' Ratings Tank When Patients Are Kept Waiting: Study
- It's Not Medical Outcomes That Drive Patients' Hospital Reviews
- Brand-Name Rx Rise After Docs Get Drug Company Perks: Study
- Seniors Still Wary of Online Reviews When Picking Doctors
- Many Drugstores Misinform on Disposal of Unused Meds
- Fewer Americans Have a Primary Care Doctor Now
- FDA to Allow States to Import Prescription Drugs From Other Countries
- Warning Letter About OTC Drugs Sent to Dollar Store: FDA
- Independent Pharmacies Are Closing Down Across the U.S.
- When Meds Are Free, Patients Take Them More Often
- AHA News: What's Your Sense of Purpose? The Answer May Affect Your Health
- Health Tip: Choosing a Doctor
- Nearly Half of U.S. Patients Keep Vital Secrets From Their Doctors
- Trump Administration Announces Plan to Allow Cheaper Drug Imports From Canada
- Hey! That's the Wrong Knee, Doctor
- Cuts in Trainee Doctor Hours Haven't Harmed Patients
- 'Unprofessional' Surgeons Hurt Patient Outcomes: Study
- Help for Impotence Starts With Frank Talk With Doctor
- Your Gut Bacteria Could Affect Your Response to Meds
- Patients Who Read Doctors' Notes More Likely to Take Their Meds
- Rising Rx Drug Costs Continue to Create Tough Choices for Seniors
- Where's the Best Place for Your Child's Sports Physical Exam?
- Do Doctors Give Better Care in the Morning?
- Americans' Prescription Med Use Is Declining
- Health Tip: What to Expect From a Gynecologist Visit
- Your Virtual Doctor Will 'See' You Now
- Do Doctors Hounded by Malpractice Claims Just Shift Their Practice Elsewhere?
- Another Side Effect of the Opioid Crisis: Heart Infections
- Can Google Help Bridge Language Gaps Between Doctors, Patients?
- Senators Grill Drug Company CEOs on High Drug Prices
- Primary Care Doctors Help Boost Life Spans, But More Are Needed
- Patients With Primary Care Docs May Get Better Health Care
- Medical Scribes Could Help Improve ER Care
- Many Teens, Young Adults Don't Get Private Time With Doctors
- As Medical Marketing Soars, Is Regulation Needed?
- Even Older Drugs Are Getting Steep Price Hikes, Study Finds
- Most Americans Lie to Their Doctors
- Are Generics as Good as Brand-Name Drugs?
- What Kids -- and Parents -- Fear Most at the Doctor's Office
- Trump to Sign Bills Lifting Drug Price 'Gag Orders' on Pharmacists
- The Physician Assistant Will See You Now
- More Americans Are Recording Their Doctor Visits
- Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Reaches Settlement in False Ad Lawsuit
- FDA Recalls Some Valsartan Drugs Due to Impurity
- American Seniors Facing Higher Out-of-Pocket Costs for Brand-Name Drugs
- Could Nonprofit Drug Companies Cut Sky-High Prices?
- Generic Drugs Don't Always Push Prices Down
- With 'Super Gonorrhea' a Threat, Many Still Getting Wrong Antibiotics
- More People Need to Carry Opioid OD Antidote: U.S. Surgeon General
- Global Antibiotic Use Soars as Resistance Fears Rise
- Three-in-One Pill Shows Promise in Beating High Blood Pressure
- Health Tip: Prevent an Accidental Drug Overdose
- Daily Aspirin Can Bring Heart Benefits, But Risks Too
- FDA Warns Heart Patients About Antibiotic Clarithromycin
- New Research Debunks Two Medical Marijuana Myths
- Xanax, Valium Looking Like America's Next Drug Crisis
- Leading U.S. Doctors' Group Takes Aim at Rising Drug Prices
- Americans Fed Up With Soaring Drug Prices: HealthDay/Harris Poll
- Personalized 'Pills' From a 3D Printer?
- FDA Issues Warning About Skin Lighteners
- U.S. Prices Soaring for Some Generic Drugs, Experts Say
- Faster Drug Approvals Linked to Increased Safety Issues
- Study: Wikipedia Drug Entries Not Always Up-to-Date
- Health Tip: Safely Dispose of Medications
- Pharmacy 'Robots' Linked to Bacterial Contamination of Drugs
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Disposal Fact Sheets.
FDA. How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.