St. Mark's Hospital - July 08, 2019

The older you get, the more likely it is that you’ll take multiple medications. But taking more than one drug, even if it is over-the-counter (OTC), can open the door for errors, accidental poisoning or even overdosing. Here are some simple tips to stay safe when taking multiple medications:

Make a medication list

Jot down all the medications you use, even dietary or herbal supplements and OTC meds, including why you take them. Also record the name of the prescribing doctor and dosing information.

Keep your medication list up-to-date

Anytime you start or stop taking a new medication or supplement or change your dose, update the list and review it with your pharmacist or primary care doctor.

Read labels carefully

When starting a new medication, review the dosing instructions and possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist. Also, read all package inserts to make sure you take and store the drug correctly. (Tip: Ask your pharmacist for large-print labels if you find it hard to read the small print on prescription inserts.)

Follow dosing instructions exactly

Know what to do if you accidently miss a dose, and never cut pills in half unless your doctor or pharmacist says it's safe.

Store medications in their original containers

This will ensure you know who prescribed it, the proper dosage and expiration date.

Use a pillbox to organize medicines

If you take many medications, a daily or weekly pillbox can help you remember whether you’ve taken them. Some pharmacies can combine medications in single-dose packets.

Use one pharmacy for all prescriptions

This helps your pharmacist identify and prevent potential medication interactions. It also keeps you from having to report medications to multiple pharmacists.