Given the fact that 82 percent of all adults take at least one daily medication, it’s no shock that thousands of people each year are affected by medication errors.

It’s very common for a person to receive a number of medications from different health care providers, and, often that information is not shared among the providers. Many people take supplements in addition to prescribed medications, which can also lead to harmful interactions.

With the risk of medication errors so great, it’s extremely important to take charge of your health.  In other words, educate before you medicate.

Here are five tips to keep in mind so that you can ensure the best care.

  1. Keep tabs on your medications by keeping an up-to-date list of every drug that you take, whether it’s prescribed, supplemental, vitamins, herbal, etc. It’s crucial to make sure to account for any medication you take, even if it’s only occasionally. Once you have made your list, store it in an easily accessible place such as a wallet or purse so that you can refer to it when at the doctor’s office or speaking with your pharmacist.
  2. When you visit the doctor’s office, don’t be shy – ask questions! It’s important that you make sure that every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted before you leave. This means that if you are given a prescription, you should make sure that you understand the medicine, its use and how and when to take it, along with any potential interactions with other medications or supplements you’re taking.
  3. If you don’t understand your prescription, your pharmacist also is an informative source who can help you to get a better grasp on your medications.
  4. Always have your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. This will allow the pharmacist to check for drug interactions. Transferring prescriptions from pharmacy to pharmacy can prove to be very dangerous and should be avoided.
  5. If you have an allergy to a medication, make sure that all of your doctors are aware; this includes the dentist as well.

These five tips will help you to better manage your medications, and could help prevent a harmful reaction to a medication error.  Don’t forget to ask as many questions as possible of both your physician and your pharmacist.

By doing so, you’ll get a better understanding of not only your medical condition but how each and every prescribed and supplemental medication works and interacts with one another.


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