The proper use of a medicine means:
- using the right medicine,
- at the right time (and only when strictly necessary),
- taking into account,
- the doctor's instructions;
- the pharmacist's instructions;
- the information on the patient information leaflet.
Quality, safety and efficacy must always be respected when using medicines.
- The right medicine
Only use medicines for their intended purpose. Do not experiment with medicines on your own and do not take medicines from other family members.
- The right time
Use medicines only when strictly necessary. Also, do not use them for shorter or longer than prescribed by your doctor, pharmacist, or as stated in the package leaflet. Also make sure you take them at the most effective time of the day (morning, evening, before or after eating …), as this may influence the absorption of the medicine and the occurrence of any side effects.
- Always follow the instructions from your doctor, the advice from the pharmacist and the instructions in the package leaflet
Your doctor knows your medical records. They are also in the best position to know what you should look out for when taking a medicine. Your doctor will also be able to give you personalised advice based on your medical history (other conditions, other medications) and put together an adapted medication schedule. Therefore, always strictly follow this personal advice.
Your pharmacist can provide you information on how a medicine works, its indications, the best time to take it, possible side effects and/or any interactions with other medicines. Always follow the advice carefully.
The package leaflet contains important information about your medicine: what it is used for, when to be extra careful, how to take it, what are the possible side effects and how to store it. Read that information carefully before using the medicine.
The FAMHP developed a campaign entitled A medicine is not a sweet – 12 tips on how to use medicines properly in order to let patients know how to use medicines correctly.
The topics discussed in this section are: