Almost everyone in America is taking or has taken a prescription drug at one time or another. Because medication errors can lead to death, it is important to take a moment and focus on medication safety. This is why April 1–7, 2014, was established as Medication Safety Week.
As part of Medication Safety Week, there are some valuable lessons that consumers should learn, such as:
- Know your medicines—know their names and why you are taking them
- Store medicine in a cool, dry place
- Clean out your medicine cabinet by throwing away old prescriptions
- Organize your medicines and create a system that can help you take your pills correctly
- Always read each medicine label carefully before popping a pill
- Know if you should be taking your medicine with food or not and what time of the day is best
- Always follow directions that come with the medication
- Create a list of all the medicines you are taking
- Consult with your doctor or pharmacist about other supplements you are taking to avoid negative interactions
Besides doing the aforementioned things, all pharmacy patients should try and use one pharmacy for all their prescriptions and have a pharmacy consultation before walking away from the pharmacy counter with their new meds so that they know how to take their medications. The reason why having a consultation and doing all of these things is important is because wrong prescriptions have sometimes been prescribed by doctors and wrong medications have sometimes been dispensed by pharmacists. Additionally, patients can get confused and end up overdosing if they don’t have a good system in place for taking their prescription medications.