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How do I use medicines that lower cholesterol safely?

Medicine Safety TipsHere are three of the most important tips for using your medicine safely:

  • Follow instructions from your doctor, pharmacist, and medicine label exactly.
  • Let your doctor know if you have any side effects.
  • Learn about possible drug interactions from your doctor and pharmacist.

To get the most from your medicines, you need to use them safely and correctly. Follow these tips for using your medicines wisely.

Read the label. Carefully check the list of ingredients. If you see any ingredient to which you know you're allergic, ask your doctor for a different medicine.

Take the medicine exactly as directed. If you miss a dose, follow the doctor's directions. Don't stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor.

Learn about the side effects for which to watch. If you have troubling side effects, report them promptly to your doctor.

Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Some medicines that lower cholesterol can increase or decrease the effect of other medicines. Some may cause health problems when combined with other drugs. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other medicine you're taking. This includes over-the-counter medicines. Also tell them about any herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements you take.

Make a list of any problems. If you have any trouble taking your medicine as prescribed, let your doctor know. He or she may be able to alter your treatment or suggest ways to make the regimen easier to follow.

Keep a medicine diary. List the name of each medicine you take, how much you take, how often you take it, and what it's used for. A pillbox labeled with the day of the week, and possibly the time of day, is another way to keep your medicines in order and remember all your doses.

Never share medicine. Medicines and dosage levels are selected for each person's unique situation. Don't give your medicines to someone else or share their medicines.

Store your medicine in a place that is cool, dry, and out of the reach of children and pets. Never store medicines in the bathroom, which usually is not cool or dry.

Use medicines before the expiration date. Some medicines may not be effective after the expiration date. Safely dispose of any that has expired by flushing it down the toilet. This prevents children or pets from finding and eating the medicine. You can also take expired medicine to your pharmacy. Your pharmacist can dispose of it safely.