Ever wondered what to do with the information on your prescription bottle?

Look no further.

A lot of information about your medication comes on every prescription bottle label — information that will ensure your medications are safe and effective. Every time you pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, you should read over the label to make sure you have the correct medication and understand all the directions.

Every pharmacy does their labels a little differently, but the information is all the same. Here’s what you need to know about your prescription label.

Name
The label should show your name prominently. Pharmacy errors can occur, so be sure you received your medication, and not someone else’s.

Instructions  
Pay close attention to the instructions on the label, and only take the medication as directed by the label. If you’re concerned about the instructions, ask the pharmacist to clarify or call the Tria Help Desk to speak with a pharmacist.

Refills  
You’ll continue to take some medications even after the medicine in the bottle runs out. When this occurs you will need refills to continue the medication.

Pharmacy name and phone number  
If you need to speak with your retail pharmacist, this is the number to call. They can answer questions, make recommendations and help with getting your medication refilled. They can also help with contacting your doctor’s office when your prescription runs out.

Prescription number  
Every prescription has a number that identifies the patient and the medication within the pharmacy’s system. When requesting refills, or speaking to the pharmacy staff about your medication, be sure and have this number available to expedite the process.

Description
Verify that the bottle contains the drug your doctor said you would be taking.  Prescription labels always include a description of the shape and color of the medicine.

Expiration date  
Prescriptions written by the doctor are only valid for a certain length of time before they expire. Expiration dates are set by each state’s Board of Pharmacy, and they vary for different medications. Be sure and look at the label for this date, once the prescription is expired, the medication is no longer guaranteed to be safe, and all refills will be void.

Discard date  
On the label will be a discard date for your medication. After the date listed on the label the medication should be discarded in an appropriate manner, and not taken by any person. Some medication will cause harm if they are taken past their expiration date, so always be sure your medication is not expired prior to taking.

(Written by Tria Health Pharmacy Student Intern Seth Alley, Pharm.D. Candidate at the UMKC School of Pharmacy)

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