Like many people with heart disease, you probably take more than one medicine. Heart
medicines may help you be more active. They may also help you live longer and more
comfortably. Using them correctly is important to your health.
It's important to follow guidelines whether you take prescription medicines, over-the-counter
(OTC) medicines, or both. The tips below will help you get the most from your medicines.
They will also help you prevent unpleasant or dangerous side effects.
Always follow the label directions. Follow your healthcare provider's directions or the label of a store-bought product.
Taking a smaller dose to save money or a bigger dose for faster results is risky to
your health. It may also cause side effects. Take only the recommended amount and
number of doses at the time of day stated on the label. Ask your healthcare provider
if you should take your medicine with food or on an empty stomach. If you think your
dosage needs changing, talk with your healthcare provider before making any changes.
Don't drink alcohol when taking medicines, unless your healthcare provider says it's
OK. Some medicines may add to alcohol’s effect. Or they may make you sick when mixed
Be careful when mixing medicines. Make sure your healthcare provider or pharmacist knows about and OKs all the medicines
you take. These include prescription medicines, OTC medicines, vitamins, minerals,
and herbal products. Certain medicines may interact with each other. That can make
you sick or make the medicines work less well. Some medicines need to be taken separately
from others. Talk with your healthcare provider to make sure you understand how these
medicines should be taken.
When in doubt, ask. If the label on your prescription bottle says “take as directed,” but you can’t remember
your healthcare provider’s instructions, call and ask. Some medicines must be taken
every day, no matter how you feel. Others should only be taken when you have certain
symptoms. Guessing incorrectly could harm your health or delay the desired results.
Talk with your healthcare provider to make sure you understand how these medicines
should be taken.
Know what to do if you miss a dose. Missing a dose can happen to anyone now and again. With some medicines, you should
take the dose as soon as you remember. Others should not be taken again until the
next day or at the next scheduled dose. If you take several medicines, keep a written
record of what to do for a missed dose.
Know what to expect. Before you start taking any new medicine, know what it's for and how it will help
you. Ask your healthcare provider how you will know if the medicine is working, how
long it will take to start working, and how you will feel once you take it. Also ask
your healthcare provider about any side effects to expect and when to call your healthcare
provider for unpleasant ones. Always ask if the medicine is needed. Could you get
the same results with a change in your diet or exercise habits?
Read and save any product information that comes with your medicine. Such information includes important warnings every person should know. Check expiration
dates. If the medicine is past the expiration date, check with a pharmacist about
how to safely dispose of it.
Buy all your prescription medicines at one pharmacy. Medicine interactions are more likely to be caught if one pharmacist fills all your
prescriptions. Ask your pharmacist to print medicine labels in large print if you
have trouble reading standard type. The pharmacy can also help you in getting your
refills in a timely manner. The pharmacist can often give you information on side
effects and interactions.
Keep track of your medicine. Use a medicine tracker, such as a pill box. A smartphone or tablet app may help you
to remember to take your medicines at the correct time and dose. Keep an updated list
of all your medicines and show the list to all your healthcare providers.