Learning Your Label: Understand how to read your medication label

A bottle of pills with an Express Scripts® Pharmacy label on it.

At some point, everyone has questions about their medication. But not everyone knows that many answers are close at hand — right on your medication’s label.

Each label is a mini reference book for your medication, containing valuable information that can help ensure your health and safety. However, we understand it’s not always easy to know where to look, what to look for, or why something is important. So use the picture and information below to help you understand how to get the most out of your medication label.

A sample prescription label from Express Scripts® Pharmacy.
  1. Warnings – Make sure you’re taking your medication safely by paying close attention to any cautions printed on the label.
  2. Visual description – This is a description of what your medication looks like. You can refer to it if needed to identify your medication.
  3. Medication name and strength – Check the label to ensure the name of the medication and strength of the dosage match your prescription.
  4. Generic/brand information – You might be prescribed a generic substitute for a brand-name medication, which can save you money while still maintaining the same level of safety and effectiveness.
  5. Medication directions – Ensure you’re sticking to your treatment plan by following the instructions on the label. Taking your prescribed medication in the manner your healthcare provider intended is important for a quicker recovery from illness and/or better management of a long-term condition.
  6. Contact number – Call this number for any questions about your medication. Check your pharmacy's hours — and know if you'll be able to reach a live pharmacist after hours (not just a voicemail) if needed.
  7. Medication quantity – Check this number to see the amount of medication provided in your prescription.
  8. Refill date – Find out when your next refill is available. If you're out of refills, it may be time to renew your prescription. You can also sign up for automatic refills on eligible prescriptions to ensure your medicine will always be on hand.
  9. Use by date – This is the date you should use your medication before.
  10. Prescriber name – The name of the person who prescribed your medication is always clearly printed on the label.

While your medication label can answer many questions, you can also reach out to Express Scripts® Pharmacy 24/7 to ask our pharmacists anything about your prescription or treatment.

Posted date: November 30, 2021


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