Medication

Health Tip Sheet

Medication

Taking Your Medication as Prescribed

Photo of  a prescription medicine bottleYour doctor has developed a plan to treat your cancer and help you feel better. The doctor may prescribe one or more medications to help with your cancer treatment.

Whether you receive treatment or medicine in a hospital, clinic, or at home, it is important to follow the tips below to ensure that your treatment is carried out as intended:

  • Take your medication exactly as your doctor tells you or prescribes.
  • Do not skip a dose.
  • Do not run out of your medicine. Call your pharmacy when you notice that you are running low on your medication and need a refill. Call your health care provider if you notice your refills are almost up.
  • Never take medicine that is prescribed for someone else, even if it is the same type and dose as yours.
  • Do not use leftover or outdated medicine.
  • Report any side effects that you may experience right away.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicine that was not prescribed or suggested by your doctor.

Treating a Low White Blood Cell Count (High Risk)

If your doctor or nurse tells you that you have a low white blood cell count, they may also talk to you about starting a type of medication to boost the number of white blood cells in your system. This may help lower your risk of infection.

Helpful Web Sites and References

American Cancer Society. (2011). Cancer pain: Don’t suffer in silence. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/Features/cancer-pain-dont-suffer-in-si...

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Guidelines for the prevention of intravascular catheter-related infections. Retrieved May 3, 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/BSI/04-bsi-background-info-2011.html

National Cancer Institute. (2007). Chemotherapy and You: Support for People With Cancer. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you/

Education Materials

CDC created a variety of resources for patients and healthcare providers, including a quick reference sheet, fact sheets, posters, and videos.

"I never thought seriously about the risk of infection until I was hospitalized and unable to fight a fever. It’s so important to understand what steps you can take to help protect yourself."Donna Deegan, News AnchorBreast Cancer Survivor 

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