Medicine Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

When you take two or more medicines, they will likely mix well. On certain occasions, you might have what’s called a “drug-to-drug interaction.”

This means that some medicines you take together may cause an adverse reaction in your body. For example, a “drug-to-drug” interaction could:

  • make your medicines not work as well (weaken them)
  • make one or more of the medicines too strong and cause unwanted side effects, which could be deadly

TIP: Talk to your pharmacist about all medicines you take and ask if they mix well together.

These reasons might include:

  • dose may be too high
  • interaction with other drugs

Note: Everyone can react differently – based on age, weight, gender, etc.

TIP: To avoid problems when taking two or more medicines together, tell your health care provider and pharmacist about all the medicines (and other remedies) you are taking. 

Any medicine taken the wrong way might put your health at risk. 

A drug maker has to show research data to the FDA to get each medicine approved. This research could be about:

  • how the medicine works
  • why it is safe to take (or not)
  • what dose works best with the fewest side effects

Yes. That is why your pharmacist checks your medicines to make sure you are on the right dose. Don’t forget to ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions about your medicine. 

Taking higher than recommended doses of certain over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines – including abuse or misuse of the medicines – can cause serious health problems. It could even lead to death. Also, a dose that is safe for you may not be safe for someone else. 

Certain people need to have their dose changed, so that they don’t take too much (called “overdosing”). These include the elderly, children, and women who are pregnant or mothers who are breastfeeding, and people with chronic health conditions. 

Always ask your pharmacist if the medicines are safe for you to take at the prescribed doses. Don’t share your medicines with friends or family. 

You might have different doctors who have prescribed medicines that work in the same way for you. When medicines have similar active ingredients, they could be: 

  1. the same medicine with different names (for example, one could have a brand name and the other might have a generic name), or 
  2. two medicines of similar nature

TIP: Be cautious about taking the same medicine twice – as you could have two bottles of the same medicine!

TIP: It’s important for you to keep a full list of each medicine, vitamin and herbal remedy you are taking.

Please show this list to your pharmacist or your doctor. This list helps your health care provider check for any unwanted effects between drugs and whether two or more medicines work well for you or not.

A recall may be issued if a medication is:

  • A health hazard: If there is some health risk associated with the medication 
  • Mislabeled or packaged poorly: If there is a problem with the dosing tool provided with the drug
  • Poorly manufactured: If there are defects related to poor quality, impurities, and incorrect potency of the drug from the manufacturer

Please click here to view an up-to-date list of drug recall notifications.

Some medicines can be too strong for a certain group of people and are considered “high risk” for them.

This special group may include older people, pregnant women or mothers who are breastfeeding, children, and people with other medical conditions affecting their kidney or liver.

For example, certain medicines prescribed for memory issues may have a side-effect that causes dizziness in some seniors who are at “high risk” for falling. In that case, an alternative medicine (or no medicine) for this condition would be better.

If you are over 65 years old, ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medicines you are taking may not be right for you. 

Please see the short list below of the most common medicines prescribed that may be harmful for older people. 

Older adults (age 65+): Check with your doctor first before taking these medicines:


Medicine or Medicine Class:  Potential Risks:
Sliding scale insulinMay make your blood sugar level too low – without improving the condition
Glyburide May cause a long period of excessively low blood sugar
Muscle relaxants May be poorly tolerated
BarbituratesMay increase risk of dependence and overdose
Benzodiazepines (alprazolam, temazepam, lorazepam)May increase risk of falls and fracture


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Pharmacy Benefits