Do you use:
• medications prescribed by a doctor;
• natural health products like vitamins, herbs, and supplements;
• over-the-counter drugs;
• all of the above?
If so, then you are like many British Columbians, and most especially other seniors; you need to know how to take your medications safely to ensure they work properly and do not interact in negative ways.
Basic Medication Safety Tips
To start, keep a medication record and always ask questions about your medications. The more you know and understand about the drugs you take, the better off you are. To learn more about various medications, use the search tool on:
- Medications A-Z at HealthLink BC
For more good tips on medication safety, see:
- Taking Medicines Wisely from HealthLink BC
- Medication Tips, Records, and Safety from the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council\
While most drugs and natural health products are safe to take at the same time, sometimes there can be a problem. A drug or natural health product may alter the way another one works, or cause a side effect when they are combined. Remember that alcohol is also a drug and may affect the way some medications work. This is called a drug interaction.
To prevent drug interactions, it’s best to check with your doctor or pharmacist each time you start taking a new drug or natural health product, and before drinking alcohol while you are taking other drugs or medications.
For further online information about medicine side effects and interactions, see:
Or you can call HealthLink BC’s toll-free 8-1-1 phone service to speak with a pharmacist. HealthLink BC pharmacists are available every night from 5:00 pm - 9:00 am, when most local pharmacies are closed.
More Information About Medications, Natural Health Products, and Other Drugs
Learn how the medications you take can affect your driving ability at:
- Drugs and the Older Driver from the Canada Safety Council
Health Canada is responsible for alerting the public to any safety concerns about medications and other health products sold in Canada. To learn more, visit:
- Advisories, Warnings, and Recalls from Health Canada