Millions of Americans rely on prescription medications to help them stay healthy. However, these medications only work if patients take them correctly. When medication mistakes do occur, patients are at risk for suffering serious side effects. To best prevent medication mistakes, patients can follow these five tips:
- Know the names of your medications. Many patients have prescriptions filled without even knowing the names of their medications. To help avoid medication mistakes, talk to your doctor about your prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and the dosage so you will know if a pharmacist incorrectly fills your prescription or if your medications might interact poorly.
- Check the label every time. To prevent medication mistakes, patients need to check the label of each medication every single time they take the medication. If patients don’t check the label, they could end up grabbing the wrong bottle and taking the wrong medication.
- Know what your medication treats and how your medication works. Patients who understand their medications are more likely to take them correctly. A patient needs to have clear expectations of how a medication will work, such as if it can provide immediate relief of symptoms or if it works over time with regular doses.
- Create a schedule. Patients who have trouble remembering to take their medications should write out a dosage schedule. This is particularly helpful for patients taking multiple medications at different times of the day. Not only is a taking medication at the appropriate time important for the effectiveness of the medication, but forgetting a dose could cause serious side effects.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand something about your medications, you need to ask a healthcare professional or pharmacist. With many medications, there is very small room for error, so it is important you don’t let any of your concerns or questions linger.