Medication Safety - What To Know

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Medications whether prescribed or over-the-counter can provide certain health benefits and make you feel better when used appropriately however all medications are associated with certain risks.

When the decision is made to take a medication, it is good practice to always think through its helpful as well as its possible unwanted effects. The more information you have and the more that you learn regarding your medications, the better able you are to prevent errors and to take better care of yourself.

  • Maintain an accurate list of medications that you currently take. The list should include the dose and how often you take them.
  • After each physician visit you have, make it a habit to update your medication list as your medications change.
  • Maintain a list of any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements or herbal products that you take regularly. Remember these medications are just as important as prescribed medications.
  • It is good practice to always read your medication label every time you take a dose of your medication. This will ensure that you have the right drug and that you are following the correct instructions.
  • Always keep medications in their original bottles as many pills look alike. By keeping your medications in their original bottles, you will know which is which and how to take them.
  • Never take someone else’s medication. This could put at risk as you don’t know if it will interact with your medications, if the dose is appropriate for you, or if you may be allergic to the medication.
  • Ensure that you don’t store medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet or in direct sunlight as this can affect the medications’ potency and safety.
  • Medications should be stored where children cannot see or reach them.
  • Bring your medication list each time you go to your doctor’s office. This is especially important if you see more than one doctor as they might not know about the medications other doctors have prescribed for you.

If your doctor prescribes a medication for you, always ask that he/she explain what medication is being prescribed, including the drug name and how often you should take it. Also ask that the purpose for the medication be included on the prescription.

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