Deciphering the fine print on your prescription labels

Check your prescription labels and be responsible for your health.

Have you ever sat down and looked at the prescriptions you’re taking? It’s not a simple task to read. However, your prescription label, as well as the accompanying paperwork along with it, contains crucial information to help you stay secure and aware of your health. Examining these details at the pharmacy or at home can help you to be aware of your health, safe, and active in your health care.

“It’s the pharmacist’s responsibility to ensure that every patient is well-informed and confident when they get their prescribed medication. Safety of patients is our primary concern which is why we strive to eliminate every obstacle in their health journey,” states David Hopkins, RPh, manager of Geisinger Pharmacy.

Understanding your medications, especially when you’re beginning a new drug, doesn’t take a long time. It’s just that it’s a big difference.

First, review your prescription label

The label on your prescription is packed with details in a compact space. Apart from the information about the name of your doctor, their contact details, as well as the name of your doctor, The label on your prescription will tell you how to use the medication and also how you can take it in a safe manner. Particularly, you should be acquainted with the following:

  • Dosage Strength of medication you’ve received. For medications, this is usually expressed in milligrams (mg).
  • Instructions Guidelines for knowing when you should take your medication as well as when to take it.
  • Description: The shape and shade of your medication, along with any imprinted numbers or letters when it’s in tablet form.
  • warnings They could be limitations, such as not drinking alcohol or taking your medication in conjunction with food. Warnings may also indicate interactions with other medications or other common side effects like the feeling of drowsiness.
  • Expiration Date: The date on which you must stop taking this medication. It is possible to see this date listed as a “use before” date or a “discard after” date.

Next, you should look over the insert to the package

Alongside the label of your medication, The prescription also comes with documents called package inserts that include a wealth of details about the medicine the patient is taking. Because it follows a common format that is required by the Food & Drug Administration, it’s long, and certain information may be considered to be like a scientific study.

It’s a good idea to go through the enclosed document to get a better understanding of your medications. There’s information on the effects of medication, drug interactions, risk factors, and warning signs that might signal that something is not right. The article also explains the way that the medication functions inside your body, so you understand how it will help you keep and improve your health. If you’re looking for the version with Cliff’s notes, go through the Highlights section. It’s a summary that includes the most crucial information.

Remember that a large amount of information is legally required in the prescription medications you take. In the absence of any context, certain information can be a bit scary, for example possible dangerous adverse negative effects. Discuss any concerns you have with your pharmacist at the time you pick up your prescription.

Do you have any questions? Discuss your concerns with your pharmacist.

Even though your label for medication and package insert have lots of information but you might still be unsure, particularly in the case of an entirely new medication. Discuss with your physician or pharmacist to ensure you are aware of your medication’s instructions, benefits interactions, and limitations.

“We love when our patients take time to review the important safety information we provide with prescription medications — because it means they’re an active part of their own care, and they can advocate for themselves if they have questions or concerns,” Hopkins says. Hopkins.

Keep in mind that you are your own most trusted advocate in the matter of your health. But don’t be on your own! Your team of health professionals, including your pharmacists, is here to assist you. Contact anyone on your team if you have questions about medications you take on prescription, the treatment plan, or your general health.


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