Medication Safety

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  • Do not take medications that are prescribed for someone else.
  • Create a complete list of current medications (including prescription and over-the-counter
    medications, herbal remedies and vitamins), and keep this list with you at all
    times in the event of emergency situations. Review the list for discrepancies and make
    changes immediately as they occur. Show the list to your doctor or pharmacist to keep
    from combining drugs inappropriately.
  • Know the name of each of your medications, why you take it, how you take it, potential
    side effects, and what foods or other things to avoid while taking it.
  • Report medication allergies or side effects to your health care provider.
  • Take medications exactly as instructed, if the medication looks different than you
    expected, ask your health care provider or pharmacist about it.
  • Drug names can look alike or sound alike. To avoid errors, check with your health care
    provider if you have questions.
  • Do not use alcohol when you are taking medication.
  • Use a chart or container system to help you remember what kind, how much, and when
    to take medication.
  • Do not stop or change medications without your doctor’s approval even if you are
    feeling better. If you miss a dose, do not double the next dose later.
  • Take your medication with a light on so you can read the label.
  • Read medicine labels (including warnings) carefully and keep medications in their
    original containers.
  • Store medication safely in a cool, dry place according to instructions on the label of the
  • Keep medicines away from children and confused adults.
  • Follow federal disposal guidelines for medications with any specific disposal instructions
    on the prescription drug labeling or patient information insert. Do not flush medications
    down the sink or toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so. If your
    community has a pharmaceutical take-back program, take your unused drugs to them
    for proper disposal. If no such program is available, remove drugs from their original
    containers and mark out any identifying information on the original containers. Mix the
    drugs with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or Kitty litter, place the mixture
    in a sealable bag, empty can or other container and place it in the empty, original
    containers in the trash.