When taken correctly, medicines can go a long way to help relieve symptoms (for example, pain relief or upset stomach), fight certain infections and even improve the functioning and quality of life of those with common chronic illnesses such as arthritis, cancer, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or depression.
If your family is like most, your medicine cabinet is probably full of medicines, from over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription drugs, multi-vitamins and herbal remedies. There are probably bottles of medicines that you don’t even remember picking up at the pharmacy.
It can be hard to get a handle on all of the medicines your family members take, but it’s important to be in the know to protect their health and safety. Did you know most Americans fail to ask questions about their medicines, and half don’t use their medicines as prescribed?
It’s true. And while medicines have lots of benefits—not the least of which is helping to make you and your loved ones feel better—they can also be harmful if not used properly.
Bottom line: You are your family’s best advocate. By learning about the benefits and risks of medicines, you can help everyone get the most from their medicines, avoid problems and stay safe.
When in doubt, always ask your family doctor, other prescriber, nurse or pharmacist.