BY SUSAN KREIMER
With all of the different medicines
available for all of the things that
ail us, keeping track of them can
be overwhelming. If you have
a heart condition, managing your medicines can be doubly
difficult. Chances are that you take more than one medicine
daily, whether it’s a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC)
drug. Each medicine may treat a different symptom or problem,
and each comes with separate instructions. You need to take
all your medicines as directed for them to be most effective.
Your doctor and pharmacist can help you better understand
the correct amounts and when and how often to take both
prescription and OTC medicines.
“When a new prescription is written, the patient should know
what the medicine is and what it is being used for, the dosage
and duration of treatment,” says Sophia De Monte, R.Ph.,
spokeswoman for the American Pharmacists Association and
a pharmacy manager at Costco® in Nesconset, N. Y. “Don’t be
afraid to ask questions. Your pharmacist is the most accessible
To be fully informed, De Monte suggests talking with your
doctor. Whether you’re taking prescribed medicines, OTC drugs
or both, get the answers to these questions:
• Should I take this medicine instead of another drug that I’ve
been prescribed, or is this an additional treatment?
• What is this medicine supposed to do for me?
• What are some common side effects?
• Are there any interactions with my other prescriptions or OTC
• Which foods, supplements and activities could interfere with
• Are there any special storage requirements?
• What should I do if I miss a dose?
• How long does it take this drug to take effect?
Pharmacy software checks for medicine duplication and
interactions, says De Monte, and can alert you to possible