Whether it is a prescription drug, or an over-the-counter drug, the Food and Drug Administration must approve any drug before its release in the United States. The FDA evaluates the drug’s safety by looking at how it is developed, results from clinical trials and how it is manufactured. However, once a prescription or over the counter drug is approved, the FDA continues to monitor that drugs side effects and safety.
In order for prescription drugs and over the counter medicines to work correctly, a person must follow the instructions. There are a number of prescription drugs that are addictive, so taking precautions are necessary. Medicines cure infectious diseases, prevent problems from chronic diseases, and ease pain. But medicines can also cause harmful reactions if not used correctly. Errors can happen in the hospital, at the doctor’s office, at the pharmacy, or at home.
You can help prevent errors by keep a list of the names of your medicines, how much you take, and when you take them. You must really know the medicines, and be sure to include over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements and herbs, and take the list to all your doctor visits. Your doctor can then tell you if what you’re taking is safe.
If you are unsure, ask questions. Ask your doctor, ask your pharmacists. Don’t be afraid to ask the important questions, like:
- Why am I taking this medicine?
- What are the common problems to watch out for?
- What should I do if they occur?
- When should I stop this medicine?
- Can I take this medicine with the other medicines on my list?