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Pain Medications Mistake No. 5: Drugged Driving

Pain medications can make you drowsy. Different people react differently to different drugs.

"How I react to a pain medication is different from how you react," Binaso says. "It may not make me drowsy, but may make you drowsy. So I recommend trying it at home first, and see how you feel. Don't take two pills and go out driving."

Pain Medications Mistake No. 6: Sharing Prescription Medicines

Unfortunately, it's very common for people to share prescription medications with friends, relatives, and co-workers. Not smart, Haynes and Binaso say -- particularly when it comes to pain medications.

"If a fairly healthy person is taking a medicine because she is in pain, and wants to give some pills to Uncle Joe because he is hurting -- well, this is a potential problem," Haynes says. "Uncle Joe may have a problem that keeps his body from eliminating the drug, or he may have an allergic reaction, or the drug may interact with a medication he is taking, with life-threatening results."

Pain Medications Mistake No. 7: Not Talking to the Pharmacist

It's not easy to read drug labels, even if you can make out the small print. If you have a question about either a prescription or OTC drug, ask the pharmacist.

"That's why I'm in the store," Binaso says. "You may have to wait a couple of minutes for me to finish what I'm doing. But you'll get the information you need to take the right medicine the right way. Just say, 'Tell me about this medicine; what should I be on the lookout for?'"

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