Medicines are meant to cure your illness. It should make you feel better when you are sick. However, when not taken properly, medicines can negatively affect your well-being. It may have side effects that range from mild like stomach aches to more serious ones like liver damage. 
To avoid these adverse effects, take these simple steps:
- Follow the label carefully.
- Have your physician explain the dose.
- Keep track of your medicines. Keep a list of all the medicines (vitamins, minerals, herbs, supplements) you take. Always show these when you consult your doctor.
- Store your medicines properly.
- Keep your medicine in its original container.
- Always double check if the pharmacist gives you the right medicine. It helps if you pay closer attention to the physical characteristics of your medication for you to immediately know the difference.
- You may also want to make a copy of your medicine list to give to a family member or friend in case you have a medical emergency.
It is also important to understand the differences of medicines based on their type; prescription and over-the-counter.
Prescription drugs can only be obtained through prescription from your doctor. These can only be used by the intended person to treat a specific medical condition.
On the other hand, over-the-counter medicines (OTC) may be recommended by your doctor but you can buy without a prescription. Usually, these are medicines that help relieve symptoms like cough and cold. OTC medicines also include pain medications, allergy medicines, and sleeping aids. Follow the guidelines found on the product inserts. Even if these fall under OTC, it is best to consult your MD.
Prescription drug misuse.
In the US, misuse of prescription drugs is a serious public health concern. The reason for the misuse varies by age, gender and social class.
Records show that in the US, nonmedical use of prescription pain-reliever and stimulant drugs are getting more common among 12th graders. According to them, they get these drugs from friends or older relatives. Aside from these commonly abused prescription medications, these young adolescents are into other illegal drugs. Studies show that there is an association between prescription drug misuse and illegal drug use, cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol consumption among US adolescents. 
To prevent the misuse of prescription drugs, patients should be more responsible in keeping their medications. Pharmacists should also be more vigilant with falsifications and alterations on prescriptions.