For those living with a chronic condition requiring regular medication safe medication storage and use is more than just following directions on an occasional antibiotic or treatment for an acute illness. Both the types of medicines and the number of different medicines present add additional challenges. Therefore, we provide 20 strategies to promote medication safety.
Best practice medication safety tips
1. Use a single pharmacy as much as possible. As an important safety partner, your regular pharmacist can help prevent dangerous errors such as medication interactions as, if you use them regularly they will build up a history of the medication you have taken, are currently taking and any health conditions you may have. This is similar to using the same doctor as again, if you visit them regularly they will have all the information necessary about your condition. Contact our pharmacist
2. Use a medication safe to lock up controlled substances or medicines that might be a danger to others or a target for theft.
3. Make sure your doctor has an updated list of everything you take, including over the counter (OTC), supplements, and herbal medications. Share this information with your pharmacist when you ask them for advice.
4. Carry medications in carefully labeled containers, preferably in original containers. A pharmacist can provide a small duplicate bottle if you need to carry only part of your medication.
5. Keep a log of doses taken or count out doses for each day of the week or time of day and place in labeled pill containers.
6. Look over package inserts and store in a file for future reference. If you misplace one, you can usually find them online or by asking the Pharmacist.
7. Teach your young children to respect medication as something that can be helpful, but dangerous if not used properly, like cars and stovetops.
8. Dispose of old medications carefully, ask your local pharmacy to discard your medication and never flush medications down the toilet.
More educated medication safety tips
9. Pay attention to whether medicines should be taken before or after eating or, whether there are foods that should be avoided with your medication because they could increase or decrease absorption. Your pharmacist should be able to help you with this.
10. Pay attention to the maximum daily dosage and the optimal dosing schedule, especially in light of other medices.
11. Know what the active ingredients are in a medicine so you can be aware of sufficient dosing or which medications contain the same ingredient or same type of ingredient.
12. Know what a medicine is for and what to expect. Whenever a new medicine is prescribed, ask: How will this help me? How will I know if it’s working?
13. Know what side effects to expect and which ones are routine versus serious signs. With new medications, ask you doctor and pharmacist: What things do I need to watch out for?
14. Check medicines when picking them up at the pharmacy or when they arrive in the mail. Make sure they are the dose and brand you expect.
15. Never assume dosing with a different bottle. Medications can vary in strength by brand or when labeled for different age or usage, so always check labeled dosage even with a familiar medicine.
16. Call your doctor or pharmacist with any side effects that seem different or more severe than you expected. Sometimes the dose can be adjusted, but it also guards against possible error in dosage, allergy, or a drug interaction.
17. If you develop an acute illness, virus, or infection, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is ok to cart on taking your routine medicines. It’s a good idea to ask ahead of time because you might need to know on a Saturday night.
18. Avoid sharing. It is not safe to share prescriptions with others who have not been prescribed that specific medication.
19. Do not skip regular blood tests related to your medications. This is a crucial part of the medication regimen, and changes can be detected early with regular testing.
20. Know whether your medication can be stopped suddenly or whether the dose must be reduced gradually.
Do you have medication safety tips to share?