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Understanding Your Medications

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • what medicine are you taking?
  • why this particular medication?
  • how will it help you?
  • is there another less expensive or less invasive alternative?
  • how long will you need to be on this prescription?


  • what strength of the drug are you being prescribed?
  • how much are you supposed to take at a time?
  • how often are you supposed to take it?
  • how do you take this drug (by mouth, injection, topical)?
  • when should you take it (before meals, before bed, when you wake)?
  • what can you take with this drug (water, juice, food, milk)?
  • for how long (certain number of days or until prescription runs out)?


  • how will this drug interact with other prescriptions?
  • how will this drug interact with over-the-counter medications?
  • what happens if you take this with or without food?
  • will taking with juice or milk weaken the drug?
  • are there any precautions (don't mix with alcohol, stay out of sun)?
  • are there any side effects?
  • if you experience side effects, should you call the doctor?


  • read the label and compare to what your doctor told you
  • review the instructions with the pharmacist
  • review any potential side effects with the pharmacist
  • ask any questions, no matter how insignificant they may seem
  • doctors and pharmacists do make mistakes -- don't be intimidated
  • if a pharmacist has substituted a generic drug, check with your doctor
  • if a pharmacist has changed the strength, check with your doctor
  • if a pharmacist has changed the dosage, check with your doctor


Harlyene Goss is the founder of Taylored Enterprises, makers of the Easyminder Reusable lists, which are available directly through www.OnlineOrganizing.com.

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