Medication Safety Articles


A grieving mother recently contacted us about the death of her 2-year-old son, Blake (see photo), from an accidental drug overdose. Her son was not ill, taking medicine, or hospitalized. Instead, the tragic event began, of all places, at a nursing home.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) have long shared a common goal of helping consumers prevent medication errors. Now, to reach as many consumers as possible, FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) has formally strengthened its relationship with ISMP so the two agencies can work together to provide consumers with information on how to use medicines safely.

This list from FDA tells you what expired, unwanted, or unused medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to people and pets in the home. Flushing these medicines will get rid of them right away and help keep your family and pets safe.

A 34-year-old woman with severe redness, pain, and peeling of her face, shoulders, and arms visited an emergency department. She had spent several hours at an outdoor flea market and developed the worst case of sunburn she had ever suffered.

Now is a great time to see if any of your medicines should be discarded because they are too old or no longer needed.

If you or a family member has been hospitalized, the first few days after returning home can be confusing. In fact, let's use the word "risky" when it comes to medication use.

Most pills you need to swallow are available commercially in the dosage strengths commonly prescribed for patients. Or, if need be, a liquid or suspension might be available. But this is not always the case. Occasionally, the exact dose of medication you need is not available commercially, so part of a tablet or capsule may be needed.

People who take medicines to treat chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, asthma, or diabetes, need to fill their prescriptions regularly. Many pharmacies allow people to sign up for an automatic refill service so they don't run out of their medicines because they forget to call for refills. Once you sign up for this service, all your prescriptions for ongoing medicines are automatically refilled until there are no more refills left on the prescription. Each month, the pharmacy then notifies you when they are ready to be picked up.

Many people make resolutions to become healthier by eating right and exercising more. Most of the time people focus more on losing weight. That is good as long as it is done over time. Unfortunately, many people look for a “quick fix” to shed pounds rapidly. So, they turn to diet fads and over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss aids. Many of these diets and products are potentially dangerous, and some diet products are illegal.

Creams, ointments, gels, sprays, lotions and patches are medicines that will enter your body by penetrating through the skin and entering the bloodstream. They can cause side effects if you use too much of the medicine.

Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

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