Assuring Safety & Need for Prescription Drugs and Medications

By on January 1, 2015
prescription medication

By Dr. Catizone –

Life after 50 is full of new adventures and opportunities for growth. Taking a moment to evaluate our health will help ensure that we can enjoy those new opportunities. If you or a loved one uses prescription drugs, the AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety Program has some helpful pointers for safe and effective use. Don’t let seemingly trivial oversights turn into issues that can affect your well-being.

Your New Prescription

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Prescription medication can be a powerful way to treat ailments and regain your preferred lifestyle. There are many options out there, and sometimes it’s hard to know what is best for your symptoms. Whenever you receive a prescription for medication, discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure that they know about your medical history, diet, and other medications you are currently taking.

When you pick up your prescription, ensure that it is the correct medication and that you understand the dosage instructions. Your pharmacist can assist with any questions that you may have about your medication. If you have more than one prescription, it is helpful to create a list of medications and a schedule to ensure that you don’t miss or double-up on doses. AWARXE has a helpful list of tips ( to ensure the appropriate use of your new prescription.

Take Your Online Shopping Seriously

Having medication delivered to your home in lieu of a trip to the pharmacy can be convenient, but it is important to protect yourself from rogue online pharmacies. Unfortunately, there are thousands of websites posing as legitimate websites and putting you at risk of receiving counterfeit medications that contain too much or too little medication. Dangerous ingredients, such as rat poison, have been found in counterfeit drugs.

Guard your health by finding Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM (VIPPS®)-accredited pharmacies that have been evaluated by National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) for safety. Out of more than 10,800 evaluated online pharmacies, NABP found that 97% operate illegally. To find safe Internet pharmacies and learn the warning signs of rogue online pharmacies, refer to AWARXE’s Online Pharmacies page (

Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs

It is important to remember that over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can interfere with the effectiveness of prescription drugs and even cause harmful effects when mixed with them. Before you begin taking any new OTC, herbal, vitamin, or dietary supplements, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist. AWARXE reminds you that it’s best to proceed with caution. Even something as common as acetaminophen has the potential to cause harmful effects if taken with certain medications. Carefully read the instructions and warnings on any medications that you have been prescribed.

Storage Safety

Many medications need to be stored in locations that are cool and dry, like a dresser drawer or linen closet, to preserve their effectiveness. While the bathroom medicine cabinet is a preferred location for many people, its moist and warm atmosphere is not ideal for medication storage.

Storing your medication in a location like a dresser or linen closet has the added benefit of preventing drug abuse by guests in your home. More than half of America’s six million prescription drug abusers report getting those drugs from friends and family for free. Secure storage is essential in preventing unintentional use or abuse by visitors to your home. If you have little ones living in or visiting your home, take the added precaution of storing medications out of their reach to avoid accidental ingestion. AWARXE offers additional guidelines ( for safely storing and tracking your medication.

And of course, if you no longer need medications, be sure to dispose of them as soon as possible. AWARXE’s Get Local section has a list of medication disposal drop box locations in almost every state. If there is not a drug disposal location near you, take a look at Food and Drug Administration ( or local guidelines to dispose of unwanted medications properly.

Prescription medication can provide relief to many health issues, but they are not to be taken lightly. Get informed and stay safe!


Dr. Carmen Catizone photoDr. Catizone is the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) and the Secretary of the Association’s Executive Committee. NABP is an international organization whose membership includes the state boards of pharmacy in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and eightprovincial pharmacy regulating agencies in Canada.

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Assuring Safety & Need for Prescription Drugs and Medications