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Medicines

Also called: Drugs, Medications
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Summary

Medicines can treat diseases and improve your health. If you are like most people, you need to take medicine at some point in your life. You may need to take medicine every day, or you may only need to take medicine once in a while. Either way, you want to make sure that your medicines are safe, and that they will help you get better. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is in charge of ensuring that your prescription and over-the-counter medicines are safe and effective.

There are always risks to taking medicines. It is important to think about these risks before you take a medicine. Even safe medicines can cause unwanted side effects or interactions with food, alcohol, or other medicines you may be taking. Some medicines may not be safe during pregnancy. To reduce the risk of reactions and make sure that you get better, it is important for you to take your medicines correctly. You should also be careful when giving medicines to children, since they can be more vulnerable to the effects of medicines.

Start Here

  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • MedlinePlus: Drug Information - Information on prescription and over-the-counter medicines and supplements Also in Spanish
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Diagnosis and Tests

Related Issues

  • (Consumers Union of U.S.)
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
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  • (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (Consumers Union of U.S.) - PDF
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
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  • (Drug Enforcement Administration)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • Easy-to-Read (Food and Drug Administration) Also in

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
  • (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America)
  • (National Center for Health Statistics)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
  • (National Center for Health Statistics)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists)

Teenagers

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Women

  • (Hormone Health Network) - PDF

Seniors

  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (Food and Drug Administration) Also in
  • (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)

Patient Handouts