Prescription (Rx) medicines are medicines that are prescribed for you by a doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner. You can only get these from a pharmacy. When used as prescribed, prescription medicines can be helpful in treating many illnesses. But they can cause serious harm if taken in the wrong way, wrong amount or mixed with certain other medicines or substances. Both accidental or intentional poisonings can occur with prescription medications and affect anyone from children to older adults.
Prescription medications, including pain medications, antidepressants, medications for sleep and medications for the heart are routinely in the top 5 types of prescriptions substances we get called about.
When you receive a new prescription, you should ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist some common questions to help in the aid of taking the medication safely.
- What is the name of the medicine and why am I taking it?
- How much and how often do I take this?
- What if I miss a dose or double the dose of my medicine?
- What side effects could I have?
- While taking this medicine, should I avoid any activities, foods, drinks, alcohol or other
Call the 24-Hour Poison Help Line for Additional Support:
Medicine Safety Tips
- When starting a new medicine, make sure you understand why it was prescribed to you. Make note of any special instructions for how to take the medicine.
- If possible, use just 1 pharmacy so your prescription records are all in one place. This enables your pharmacist to regularly monitor the medications you take and let you know about potential drug interactions.
- Read and follow the medicine label to make sure you are taking the right medicine, in the right amount, at the right time. Take your medicine as directed – do not take it more frequently or in higher quantities.
- Do not share your medicine, and only use medicine that is prescribed to you.
- Keep all medicines in their original packaging with the safety lock tightened and secured.
- Store all medicines locked up, away and out of sight.
- Safely dispose of all expired and unused medicines. See additional information on our safe medicine disposal page.