It’s important to take prescription medicines as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Always follow the advice you are given, and use your medication correctly. This advice is also important to remember if you are a carer responsible for managing someone else’s medicines.
Taking prescription medicines
Most people will take prescription medicines to prevent, treat or manage illness. The effective use of medicines can help you stay healthy for longer. Many previously debilitating or life-limiting conditions are now prevented or managed through regular medicines use – often on a long-term basis.
If your doctor or a specialist prescribes you long-term medication, you should follow their professional advice. This means:
- taking the exact dose at the right time
- taking only the medicines prescribed for you
- ordering only the medicines you need and use from your GP
This is important if you have a long-term condition which may involve life-long daily treatment, like asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Antibiotics are medicines used to treat illnesses caused by bacterial infection. You shouldn't take antibiotics to treat a cold or flu which are caused by viruses.
It important to follow your doctor and pharmacist's advice when taking antibiotics.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, you must finish the course. You shouldn't stop taking the medicine once you start to feel better.
Drug-resistant bacteria don't respond to antibiotics and cause infection and diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and meningitis.
You could increase the risk of developing drug-resistant bacteria if:
- you take antibiotics when you don’t need them for example to treat a viral infection
- you take a partial dose of antibiotics
If you're concerned about any prescription medicine you take, ask your pharmacist or doctor for more information.
If a pharmacist dispenses medicine but you don't use it, the medicine is wasted.