10 Tips for Playing It Safe with Your Medicines

You know all the prescriptions, vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter medicines you are taking, but does your doctor know? Keeping track of all your medicines and communicating with your doctor are two things everyone can do to prevent medical errors.

Here are 10 tips for playing it safe with medications from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

  1. Make sure that all of your doctors know about everything you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
  2. At least once a year, bring all of your medicines and supplements with you to your doctor.
  3. Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines. This can help you avoid getting a medicine that can harm you.
  4. Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you. Do not assume that everyone knows everything they need to.
  5. Ask to get information about your medicines in terms you can understand. Ask for this information both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them
  6. Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause. If you know what might happen, you will be better prepared. That way, you can report the problem right away, especially if something unexpected happens, and you can get help before it gets
    worse.
  7. When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it. If you can’t read your doctor’s handwriting, your pharmacist might not be able to either.
  8. When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask whether it is the medicine that your doctor prescribed. A study by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences found that 88 percent of medicine errors involved the wrong drug or the wrong dose.
  9. If you have any questions about the directions on your medicine labels, ask. Medicine labels can be hard to understand. For example, ask if “four doses daily” means taking a dose every 6 hours around the clock or just during regular waking hours.
  10. Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure your liquid medicine. Also, ask questions if you’re not sure how to use it. Research shows that many people do not understand the right way to measure liquid medicines. For example, many use household teaspoons, which often do not hold a true teaspoon of liquid.

For more on medical safety issues, see the medical malpractice library of articles by Daytona medical malpractice attorney of Zimmet and Zimmet. To schedule a consultation, click here or call us today at 386-225-6400.

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