Only order and take medications prescribed for you by your health care provider. He or she can determine if a particular drug is safe for you, or if another treatment would be more appropriate. Never use a Web site that gives you a prescription if you complete an online questionnaire. It’s illegal for online pharmacies to dispense medication without a valid prescription.
When you receive your medications, double-check them to make sure they are what you ordered. Confirm that your name is printed correctly on the label, and the name of the medication is correct. Check that the dosage matches your prescription. An expiration date should be clearly marked on the label. Also, inspect the packaging. Don’t take any medication that comes in unsealed packaging or in packaging that appears to be damaged or altered. Check that the medication looks the way you expect it to.
Never take a medication if you’re unsure about it. If anything appears odd, does not seem right, or if you have questions about the medications you receive from any pharmacy, talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away. Taking medication that’s not meant for you can have life-threatening consequences. Working with a health care provider in person to make sure you are taking the right prescription drugs can help protect your health and safety. — Amy Sapola, Pharm.D., Pharmacy, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.