U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



Use Medicines Safely

Medicines can help you feel better and get well. Learn how to use medicines safely and prevent medication problems and mistakes.

Review Date: December 17, 2014

National Health Information Center - NHIC
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Consumer FAQ's About Antibiotics

How safe are antibiotics? When should you take them? What should women know before taking antibiotics? Find answers to these frequently asked questions, and many more.

Review Date: March 30, 2012

Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics

Frequently Asked Questions About Patient Assistance Programs

Find out how you can apply for patient assistance programs (PAPs) that offer free or low cost drugs to individuals who are unable to pay for their medication.

Review Date: September 19, 2012

Rx Assist

Your Pharmacist: Frequently Asked Questions

This document answers pharmacist related questions about medications. Topics cover medicines storage, expiration date on prescription medication, prescription medicine dosage, and more.

Review Date: February 07, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

Aging, Medicines and Alcohol- (PDF)

This brochure tells older adults about possible problems related to the misuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, or over-the-counter drugs. It lists signs of misuse and suggests actions the elderly can take to avoid or deal with problems.

Review Date: December 18, 2014

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - SAMHSA
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Be Med Wise Quiz

Use this check up on how to take medicines safely.

Review Date: March 25, 2013

National Council on Patient Information and Education

Be Smart about Prescription Drug Advertising: A Guide for Consumers

Prescription drug advertisements can provide useful information for consumers to work with their health care providers to make wise decisions about treatment. Learn about correct and incorrect versions of different types of drug ads.

Review Date: March 15, 2013

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy

FDA BeSafeRx is a national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of buying prescription medicines from fake online pharmacies.This site offers tips on identifying these pharmacies, as well as resources for finding safe and reliable online pharmacies.

Review Date: September 28, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Board of Pharmacy Contacts

If you have questions or concerns about your experience at a pharmacy or with a pharmacist, contact your state board of pharmacy for assistance. Contact information for each board is available in the Boards of Pharmacy section of this Web site.

Review Date: November 05, 2012

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

Brochure on Safe Medication Use- (PDF)

While medications can help keep you healthy, they also can cause serious problems when used incorrectly. A large percentage of adults are taking too many medications, not taking their medications properly, or both. Discover how your local pharmacists can help you take your medications safely.

Review Date: January 27, 2012

Institute for Safe Medication Practices

Checklist for Getting the Right Diagnosis

Print this checklist to guide you in taking an active role in working with your doctor or nurse when you are ill.

Review Date: April 03, 2015

National Patient Safety Foundation

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs

Consumer Reports Health Best Buy Drugs™ is a public education project of Consumers Union. It will help you talk to your doctor about prescription drugs, and find the most effective and safe drugs that also give you the best value for your health care dollar.

Review Date: October 30, 2014

Consumers Union

DailyMed: Current Medication Information

DailyMed provides high quality information about marketed drugs. Search for and download easy-to-read FDA package inserts to learn more about your medications.

Review Date: April 01, 2015

NIH National Library of Medicine - NLM

Drug Discount Cards

Drug discount cards are plans that offer discounts on medicine. These programs may be created by a state government, membership associations, non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses.

Review Date: September 19, 2012

Rx Assist

Drug Interactions: What You Should Know

If you take several different medicines, see more than one doctor, or have certain health conditions, you and your doctors need to be aware of all the medicines you take.

Review Date: October 12, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration


Learn about drugs, vitamins, and herbs, and how the drugs you take compare with others. Check interactions between two or more drugs and get detailed information regarding potentially harmful drug interactions.

Review Date: December 01, 2014

Commercial Entity--Follow the Resource URL for More Information

Expiration Dates Matter (Video)

If your medicine has expired, it may not provide the treatment you need. This FDA video explains how expiration dates help determine if medicine is safe to use and will work as intended.

Review Date: June 29, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Facts About Generic Drugs- (PDF)

A generic drug is a copy of a brand name drug. Generic drugs use the same substances and work the same way in the body as brand name drugs. The FDA requires that both generic and brand name drugs be safe and effective.

Review Date: July 11, 2014

FDA Office of Women’s Health

Fentanyl Patch Can Be Deadly to Children

The FDA issued a safety alert to warn patients, caregivers and health care professionals about the dangers of accidental exposure to and improper storage and disposal of the fentanyl patch. Find out how to protect children from accidental exposure.

Review Date: April 20, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Find a Compounding Pharmacy

Search for compounding pharmacies that are accredited by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board.

Review Date: June 01, 2015

Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board

Generic Drugs

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about generic drugs and their dosage, safety, strength, quality, performance and intended use.

Review Date: June 01, 2015

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Got a Sick Kid? Don’t Guess. Read the Label.

When it comes to taking medicines, kids aren’t just small adults. When using nonprescription medicines, here are 10 ways to be sure you’re giving your children the right medicine and the right amount.

Review Date: July 18, 2011

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

How to Administer Medications

This site provides graphical illustrations on how to safely administer eye, ear, and nose drops, inhalers, and suppositories.

Review Date: October 26, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists


Ibuprofen is in a class of pain medications called NSAIDs. It works by stopping the body's production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation. Learn about prescription and over-the-counter uses, precautions, and possible side effects of ibuprofen.

Review Date: February 07, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

ISMP's List of Confused Drug Names- (PDF)

Use this list to determine which medicines require special safeguards to reduce the risk of errors. To reduce the possibility of taking the wrong medicine, check brand vs. generic names and find out the purpose for which the medication is being prescribed.

Review Date: January 27, 2012

Institute for Safe Medication Practices

Managing Prescription Treatments: High Blood Pressure

It's not possible to make a one-size-fits-all rule about when to begin taking medication. This is a decision for your doctor to make, considering your age, body mass index, activity level, other risk factors and blood pressure readings taken over time.

Review Date: February 01, 2011

American Heart Association

Medicine for the Public (Videos)

This lecture series page links to archived videos on medicine for the public. Subjects include cervical cancer, depression, heart disease, asthma, pain management, cancer screening, alcohol abuse, and more.

Review Date: December 23, 2012

National Institutes of Health - NIH
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Medicines and You: A Guide for Older Adults

As you age, it is important to know about your medicines to avoid possible problems.

Review Date: March 15, 2013

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Medicines for You: Studying How Your Genes Can Make a Difference

Your lifestyle, the food you eat, and where you live and work can all affect how you respond to medicines. But your genes also play a role.

Review Date: January 25, 2013

NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences - NIGMS

Medicines In My Home- (PDF)

Learn about the drug facts label, how to measure liquid medicine, tips for using medicine safely, and more.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

My Medicine List

“My Medicine List™” can help you keep track of everything you take to keep you healthy, including pills, vitamins, and herbs. Having a list of all your medicines in one place also helps your doctor, pharmacist, hospital, or other healthcare workers take better care of you.

Review Date: February 07, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

My Medicine Record- (PDF)

Use this handy form to keep track of all your medicines - their names, descriptions, dosages, directions, prescribers, start and stop dates, and more.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

New Medical Therapies™

The New Medical Therapies™ database contains detailed results for drugs in completed or ongoing clinical trials to help patients, caregivers and clinical research professionals stay informed of the latest medical breakthroughs. Results are categorized by therapeutic area beginning with the most recent updates.

Review Date: April 02, 2015


OTC Drug Facts Label

Patterned after the Nutrition Facts food label, the new Drug Facts label uses simple language and an easy-to-read format to help people compare and select OTC medicines and follow dosage instructions.

Review Date: November 06, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Pain Relievers: Understanding Your OTC Options

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers are medicines that you can buy without a prescription from your doctor. Find out how pain relievers work, what types of symptoms they can relieve, and more.

Review Date: September 13, 2011

American Academy of Family Physicians

Patient Assistance Program Directory

This document provides an alphabetical list of pharmaceutical companies that offer prescription assistance programs.

Review Date: September 19, 2012

Rx Assist

PEERx: Rx Abuse Is Drug Abuse

Learn about prescription drug abuse and dangerous health consequences when used incorrectly or by someone other than for whom they were intended.

Review Date: June 01, 2015

NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse - NIDA

Personal and Home Hygiene

Personal hygiene and household cleanliness practices are important methods to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease. Find fact sheets on many related topics including: creating a healthy household, antibacterials in household products, and how to fight colds.

Review Date: January 23, 2013

Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics

Prescriptions and Insurance Plans

Learn how you can save money and time by understanding how your drug coverage works.

Review Date: December 23, 2014

American Academy of Family Physicians

Preventing Teen Abuse of Prescription Drugs- (PDF)

Prescription drug abuse by teens and young adults is a serious problem in the United States. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is making sure that parents, young adults and teens know the very real risks of misusing medicine.

Review Date: March 07, 2013

The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Scam Alert: Beware of Bogus FDA Agents

Many people who have purchased drugs over the Internet or via telephone have unwittingly exposed themselves to extortion by individuals posing as FDA agents. Learn how consumers face an increased risk of purchasing unsafe and ineffective drugs from websites operating outside the law.

Review Date: November 06, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Shopper's Guide to Prescription Drugs: Generic Drugs- (PDF)

Curious about generic drugs? This document explains the difference between a generic drug and a brand-name drug.

Review Date: December 20, 2012

Consumers Union

Statewide Drug Assistance Programs

Find programs listed by state that assist older adults, disabled, and low income individuals to pay for prescription medicines.

Review Date: September 19, 2012

Rx Assist

Take Your Medicines Safely (Video)

Recent studies show that nearly 2/3 of all visits to the doctor's office end with a prescription for medication. When a doctor gives you a prescription, be sure that you understand the purpose of the medication, how and when to take it, possible side effects, and more.

Review Date: February 07, 2012

National Institutes of Health - NIH
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Special Risks of Pharmacy Compounding

Learn why pharmacy compounding can be unsafe.

Review Date: October 24, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Tips for Taking Medicines Safely (Video)

Watch this video to learn how to take your medicines, vitamins and supplements safely and correctly.

Review Date: June 01, 2015

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Tips for Talking with Your Pharmacist to Learn How to Use Medicines Safely

Your pharmacist can help you learn how to use your prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines safely. Make sure you inform your pharmacist about all the prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, herbals, and other supplements you use.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What I Need to Know About Diabetes Medicines

Learn what happens to blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, how diabetes medicines work, and what you can help prevent health problems.

Review Date: December 29, 2014

NIH National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse - NDIC
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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