The vast majority of people will need to take a medicine at some stage of their life. Medicines help to improve the symptoms of your illness and in many cases cure your illness or disease improving your general quality of life. However, this can only be achieved if you take your medicine as diagnosed by your GP.
If you don’t take your medicine correctly, it may be ineffective and cause more problems for you in the future.
Read up on your medicine
- Read the patient information leaflet that is enclosed in all medicine packs before you start taking your medicine. If you are unsure of any of the information or if it conflicts with what you have been told by your GP then contact your pharmacist to discuss further.
Know the dose
- Always follow the recommended dose as described by your pharmacist and as per the instructions that will be on your medicine pack.
- Never take any more or less medicine than is prescribed by your GP.
- If you miss a dose, do not take two doses to compensate. Continue to take your medicine as prescribed by your GP and speak to your pharmacist for further information on what to do if you do miss a dose.
- If you have any medicine remaining once you finish the course (due to missed doses for instance) return any remaining medicine to your pharmacist who will ensure it is destroyed safely
Take your medicine, as prescribed
- Do not stop taking your medicine until the prescribed stop date – even if you think your illness has been cured.
- Do not take your medicine past the prescribed stop date.
- Do not save left over medicine for use in the future.
- If you take medicine on a long-term basis and have difficulty in remembering when to take it, ask your pharmacist for a medicine compliance pack. A medicine compliance pack splits your doses by day and time so that you can clearly see what to take and when and should stop you from missing any doses.
- If you are going on holiday, make sure you bring enough medicine to cover the duration of your journey. Where possible, bring a photocopy of your prescription as well.
- Only take medicines that are prescribed by your doctor and that are purchased from a GP. Never purchase medicine online.
Store your medicine safely
- Make sure that you store your medicines appropriately. They should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct light. Note that some medicines must be stored in the fridge but this will be marked on the medicine. Always keep medicine safely away from children
Review your medicine with your GP
- If you have been taking your medicine for a long period of time, request a medicine review appointment with your GP at least once a year.
If you have any further questions regarding your medicine, speak to your pharmacist who will be able to advise you.