A few simple, common sense tasks can help you avoid medication errors and ensure your safety.
Time Required: 10 minutes
- Have your doctor explain what is written on any prescription given to you.
- Be certain the prescription is legible and includes the purpose of the medication.
- Use a reliable pharmacy which keeps a list of all medications you take in their computer. Avoid unregulated Internet pharmacies.
- Keep medications in their original, labeled containers or use a pill box or pill reminder to avoid errors and better organize your medications.
- Do not take medication in the dark where you can easily pick up the wrong container.
- Read the label every time you take a dose of medication to confirm you have the correct drug and are taking it properly.
- Never take medication which was prescribed for another person.
- Do not store medication in direct light, heat, or humidity.
- Do not store ointments near toothpaste where an easy mix-up could occur.
- Do not take expired medications.
- Learn how to dispose of your old, expired or unused medications in a safer, more environmentally-friendly way.
- When taking liquid medications use only the measuring cup it came with.
- Keep a list of the name, dose, and frequency of all medications you take including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, and supplements particularly since some herbs can have adverse reactions with prescription drugs.
- Make sure your medication list matches your doctor's records and the list the pharmacy has to avoid dangerous drug interactions.
- Obtain printed information about any new medication you receive from the pharmacy.
- Learn more about and better understand the medications you are taking.
- Be very familiar with the appearance of your drugs and notice if or when it changes.
- Only take your medications as instructed by your doctor.
- Always consult with your doctor before stopping a medication or when considering a new treatment.