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Do's and dont's


Don't let your medicines run out. Keep at least a one-week supply on hand. Call your pharmacy for refills one week before you need them.

What to do

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If you do not remember to take it until it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular dose schedule. Do not double up on missed doses unless your health care provider tells you to do so.
  • Take your medicines about the same time each day.
  • Keep all medicines (prescription, over-the-counter, herbals and vitamins) out of reach of children and pets.
  • Keep all medicines away from heat, light and humidity. Do not store medicines in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink.
  • Have all of your medicines filled at one pharmacy.
  • If you drink grapefruit juice, it can affect how well your heart medicine works. Talk with your pharmacist about what you should do.
  • Plan ahead for vacations. Don't be caught without enough of your medicines when you are away from home.
  • If you are seeing more than one doctor, be sure to tell each one which medicines you are taking. (Fill out a medicine chart to help keep track.)

What not to do

  • Don't let your medicines run out. Call your pharmacy at least one week for refills before you need them.
  • Do not take medicines prescribed for someone else.
  • Do not take any more than the prescribed dose of any medicine.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine you no do not need.
  • Do not stop taking your medicines unless you have talked with your health care provider.


If you are seeing more than one doctor, be sure to tell each one which medicines you are taking.

Sometimes when certain medicines are taken together, the combination may cause an interaction. This means the effect of either medicine may be increased or decreased.

Bring your medicines to your clinic visits

Put your medicine bottles and boxes into a bag and bring it with you to your appointments. Include all:

  • prescription medicines
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • herbal
  • natural products.

Medicines can work against each other so your health care provider needs to know what you are taking.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, fourth edition, ISBN 1-931876-31-2

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 08/11/2011

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts