Endorsed by the European Oncology Nursing Society

Why should I take my medication correctly?

Why should I take my medication correctly? image

Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat your cancer, and other medications may be necessary to reduce the side effects of your treatment.1

While the amount of medications your doctor prescribes for you might seem overwhelming, it is important to take them exactly as your doctor or nurse tells you. Your medications will only be effective if they are taken correctly.2

There are many reasons why you might not follow your doctor’s instructions for taking medication. You might start feeling better, forget to take them, or feel they are not working well.1 Whatever challenge you are facing, there are many resources available that will provide tips to help you stick to your course of medication. You can even try adding medication reminders here. It is important to take all of your medications exactly to your doctor’s instructions; if you do not do so you will not get the best from them, and they might even make you feel worse.3

It is also important to avoid potential “drug interactions” – something that happens when one medication reacts with another drug or supplement, or even a certain food or drink.4 You should tell your doctor and pharmacist of any new medication, over-the-counter drug, or dietary supplements you are taking before they prescribe your cancer medication.3

It is important to discuss any side effects you experience with your doctor, even if you feel these may be insignificant.3



  1. Cancer.Net. The importance of taking your medication correctly. Accessed May 2016.
  2. American Cancer Society. Oral chemotherapy: what you need to know. Accessed February 2016.
  3. NHS. Making sense of your medicines. Accessed February 2016.
  4. Scripture CD, Figg WD. Drug interactions in cancer therapy. Nat Rev Cancer. 2006;6:546-58.