Prescription Safety Suggestions Every Patient Should Follow

Most people don’t think twice about their prescription medications. I used to be one of those people up until recently. I dropped off my prescription for Vicoprofin. When I came to pick the prescription up, I got my wallet out, waiting to pay. The pharmacy technician handed me the bottle, and just as I was about to get out my debit card, I glanced at the bottle and realized I had been given the wrong medication. I was given Vicodin instead of Vicoprofin. This may not seem like a big deal, but I have an allergy to acetaminophen. Had I taken the Vicodin, I would most likely have suffered a seizure and been unwell for a few days following. I pointed the mistake out to the technician and it was corrected quickly. I was fortunate enough to have caught the mistake and prevented any reactions that could have occurred due to my allergy.

My medication mix-up prompted me to be more alert when it comes to me and my children’s prescription medications. Medications can have serious consequences if the wrong dose is taken, or if the wrong medication is given. There are some safety suggestions that everyone should follow in order to keep themselves, and their family members safe.

Ask for the name of your medication

When your doctor writes you a prescription, ask him to tell you the name of it. If you have a hard time remembering the names of things, write the name down. By familiarizing yourself with the name of the medication, you’re less likely to take the wrong medication.

Ask for the dosage of your medication

Ask your doctor how much of the medication you will need to take. Get the specific amount of milligrams or milliliters you will need to take. There have been many cases where a doctor has written a prescription and the pharmacy misread it. Mistaking 1.5 for 15 could have serious health consequences. By asking the doctor how much you will be taking, you will be better able to spot any mistakes once your prescription is filled.

Check the labels before you leave the pharmacy

Always check the labels on your medications before you leave the pharmacy. Look for any mistakes, such as the medication name, the dosage, when it needs to be taken or anything else that may be incorrect. If you find something questionable, ask to consult with the pharmacist and discuss your concerns.

Read the medication insert

Medications should come with an insert containing information regarding the medication. Always read this insert completely before using the medication.

Check measurement units

It can be very easy to misread teaspoon as tablespoon or tablespoon for teaspoon. This can either give too little or too much of the medication, both of which can be dangerous. When you must measure medications, double check what measurement unit is used to ensure you’re giving the correct amount of medication, each and every time.

Follow storage recommendations

Some medications require refrigeration, some require refrigeration, some can’t get hot and some can’t be exposed to light. If a medication is exposed to conditions that aren’t recommended, it can damage the effectiveness of the medication. Always check the storage recommendations on your medication. If there are no recommendations, you can ask the pharmacist how to properly store your medication.

Check expiration dates

Although many medications don’t really go bad after their expiration date, some do. It’s never a good idea to take expired medications as the results of doing so can be unpredictable. If a medication has expired, bring it back to your pharmacy to be disposed of properly. Do not flush medications down the toilet or throw them in the trash.

Make note of potential interactions

Always pay attention to any possible interactions that the medication could have with other medications and even foods like pineapple or grapefruit. Before using multiple medications, always speak to your doctor about any potential interactions or problems that may arise.

Pay attention to side affects

Always check the potential side affects a medicine could have. Even if a medication doesn’t normally have side affects for a person, it could if they come down with an illness, such as the flu. Medications that have nausea as a side affect may make the person feel even worse. Always compare possible side affects to current health issues.

Ask questions

If there is ever anything you’re concerned about when it comes to your prescription medications, do not hesitate or be afraid to ask your doctor or pharmacist. Most of the time, you won’t even need to make an appointment. You can simply call the office and ask to talk to the doctor or pharmacist. You may need to leave a message if they are busy, but most physicians and pharmacists are good about returning calls in a timely manner.