Medications are often prescribed to treat conditions, whether short-term or lifelong. They can vary from daily medicines for diabetic and cardiac health, to a more specific drug regimen to treat a mental health disorder, cancer, neurological condition or other medical condition.

When medications are taken as directed, they can greatly improve your health. But if they are not taken as instructed, they may not work. In some cases, not taking them correctly can be harmful. To help ensure your treatment remains effective and safe, you need to understand your medications and how to take them.

Medications can interact with each other. They can also interact with herbal remedies and supplements, proving harmful to your health. Your physician needs to know every medication, herb or supplement that you take in order to determine whether you are at risk for a drug interaction or if a prescription may need to be adjusted.

Northwestern Medicine specialists will work with you to ensure you find the right dosage, medication, or combination of medications. Always talk with your physician about the medications you take and how they make you feel, and never stop taking a medication without talking to physician first. Some medications cannot be stopped suddenly. Others can cause problems if they are not taken for the prescribed amount of time.

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