AVOIDING MEDICATION ERRORS

Chances are you are already taking more than one medication or over the counter (OTC) drug each day. It’s easy to make a mistake in remembering what to take, why you’re taking it, and what drug interactions may result.

Here are some tips to help you avoid making any errors when taking your medications:

  • Keep a current list of all the medications you take: prescriptions, OTC, and any vitamins and herbal supplements
  • List the name of the drug, the dosage and frequency, the reason you’re taking it, dosing directions (such as whether you should take it with or without food), and the date you started taking it. For prescription drugs, also list the doctor who prescribed it and the pharmacy where you get the prescription filled
  • List all allergies and intolerances, and any other information that may apply
  • Make copies for yourself, and for your medical file at the VA. Place a copy on the refrigerator for paramedics and give a copy to your doctor
  • Keep the list updated!
  • Ask your doctor to clarify his/her handwriting on prescriptions you can decipher
  • Write the condition being treated on each bottle. If multiple medications are being used to treat the same condition, talk to your doctor
  • Use the same pharmacy. Their records will match yours. This also allows your pharmacist to be alert to any potential issues or interactions with other medications you’re taking
  • Learn what the possible side effects are and any possible drug interactions

This material was adapted from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Caregiver Support.

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