Any drug whether herbal or synthetic is meant to provide therapeutic relief and treat various health conditions. Now, there is always a chance that these drugs or medicines might produce certain unwanted side-effects. Additionally, if you are consuming two or more drugs simultaneously, these might interact positively or negatively. This doesn't mean that you must not consume drugs but your should be really careful while consuming them along with other drugs to maximize their benefits. This would also ensure that the side-effects are significantly minimized. Most of the drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration do actually reduce the symptoms and are able to treat several diseases. You must gather all the necessary information before beginning a drug for treating any ailment such as drug interactions, warning, side-effects, what to do in case of missing a dose and generic drug availability.

1.) Know what disease(s) the medicine can be used for treating: H2 Drugs generally have more than one uses. Knowing what your drugs do and how can they help in curing certain disease helps you in increasing your knowledge about the drug. Maintain a dairy to note down what is the drug used for, to tell your doctors in future.

2.) Know the mechanism of drug-action: H2 It is advised to know how your drug works. This would help you in adhering to your planned treatment. It can help you to know what diseases can be cured by consuming that drug.

3.) Know when and how drug must be taken: H2 You must positively consult a doctor to know the appropriate dosage and time when the drugs must be consumed. This ensures getting maximum therapeutic benefits and prevents unwanted side-effects of the drug. In cases, when you are experiencing severe side-effects, you must consult your doctor before changing dosage of the drug.

4.) Know what to do in case you miss a dose: H2 It is quite normal to miss a dose every now and then. While some doses can be taken right when you realize that you have missed a dose but some medicines must be taken only on the next scheduled time. A few drugs can be taken in double the recommended quantity, the next time if missed, but this can be dangerous if you have not consulted your doctor before-hand. Failing to do so can initiate moderate to severe side-effects.

5.) Know the drug's possible side-effects: H2 It is very important to know the side-effects of each drug your are consuming. Successful drug treatment provides desired therapeutic effect without any observable side-effects. Knowing what are the side-effects can help you in preventing, recognizing and managing any side-effects.

6.) Know what substances or drugs can interact with your drug(s): H2 It is crucial to know which substances can your medicine react to- these can be anything from several foods or even other synthetic or herbal medicines. You can avoid any negative drug interaction by knowing so. However, there are also some positive interactions between drugs that can enhance the therapeutic effects. Alternatively, know about other drug treatment options and their efficiency. Check what happens when you consume antioxidants with other drugs here.

7.) Know what to expect from your drug: H2 Some drugs treat the diseases they are consumed for, while few drugs only relieve the symptoms associated with these diseases. You must know the time in which you will be able to see the results by asking this from your health-care provider. Few drugs provide relief immediately while some take days or even months to show results. To realize whether the drug is working or not, you must wait till the expectant time the drug will work in.

8.) Know how to store the drug: H2 Generally, all the drugs can be kept in room-temperature conditions but certain drugs require different temperature ranges for storage. This prevents their premature deterioration. You must also make sure to consume the drug before its expiry date. Expiry date can be easily checked from the container label itself.

9.) Know how to dispose off unused drug: H2 Disposing unused medicines responsibly is indeed important to prevent unwanted damage to children, pets and eventually environment. Use a guide provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to dispose off unused drugs.

-> Follow the recommendations provided on the drug label or leaflet provided with the drug.

-> Don't flush the drug in a toilet or sink unless this is specified on the medication label.

-> Know if your society has a drug disposal initiative to bring all the unused drugs to a specific location.

-> If your community has no drug disposal initiative you can mix it will kitten litter or coffee ground to make it less appealing to children and pets. Alternatively, you can seal the drug in a container before throwing them in a trashcan.

There are some additional tips for disposing off unused drugs or medicines:

-> Remove all the drug labels while disposing off the drugs. It will help you in protecting your personal information and identity.

-> It is advised not to give your prescribed medications to others. What is helpful for you might prove dangerous for others.

-> Take help from your doctor or pharmacist if you have any queries regarding disposing the unused drug off.

-> Standard disposal protocols can be applied over all the OTC (Over-the-Counter) drugs

-> Always ask about any specific instruction related to the disposal off unused drug or medicines.

10.) Know if generic drug is available: H2 Generic drugs provide similar therapeutic effects at a relatively cheaper price. Purchasing brand drugs can be quite an expensive affair so knowing the generic drugs can save you few dollars.

11.) Should the results of a drug be monitored by laboratory tests?: H2 It is crucial to test the efficiency of drugs. Your doctor might recommend blood tests at different intervals to manage the drug dosage. He can then easily change the dosage based on the laboratory test results.

12.) Know the Drug Manufacturer: H2 Certain drug manufacturers provide material, programs and other awareness information about your health condition and available self-management methods. All this can help in knowing more about your health condition and adhering to the treatment.

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