POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 43 HELP PREVENT PROBLEMATIC PRESCRIPTION DRUG USE continued To help prevent problematic prescription drug use, you should: • keep track of your prescription drugs by counting the pills in each package. • keep medication in a safe and secure place, such as a locked box or cabinet. • return any unused or expired medications to your pharmacy or to a take-back program. • keep track of your refills at the pharmacy and make sure there are none that you didn't fill yourself. • avoid sharing your medication with family or friends, even if they have been prescribed the same drug before. Using Medications Safely Prescription and non-prescription medications can help treat diseases and conditions, and make you feel better. But taking these medications correctly is important. All medications carry some risk. Side effects (also known as adverse reactions) can occur even when the product is used correctly. For example, you could have a mild side effect like a minor rash, or a severe allergic reaction. Following directions, asking questions, and sharing your medical history are all ways to help reduce the risk of side effects. Know the Risks All medications carry some risk. Make sure you learn about these risks before you take the medication. Common risks include: • Combining medication with certain foods, beverages, vitamins, or other health products that can cause harmful interactions. • the medication not working as it should. • the medication causing more health problems. Reduce your Risk Follow directions.Always use medication as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. This includes when to take it, how often, and for how long.You should also know when and under what conditions you should stop using your medication, and what to do if you miss a dose. Always read the product label and follow the directions closely. Talk to your healthcare professional Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional about all aspects of your medication. Discuss any questions or concerns you might have. • Discuss your medical history.This includes any health conditions you have, allergies and sensitivities, and what medications, including natural health products, you are taking. Keep a record of all your medications . • Mention if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to have a baby. • Discuss any difficulties you might have swallowing medication or remembering to take it on time.