Medication Safety Articles

 

You may be surprised to learn that some medication errors happen simply because of misunderstood abbreviations that doctors and other health professionals use when communicating prescription orders. Misinterpretations can even happen when the prescription is sent by computer. Here’s an example:

Vitamins and other nutrients are important for a healthy pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant often receive nutritional counseling and/or a prescription for prenatal vitamins. A prenatal vitamin will not make up for poor nutrition. But it can provide a woman with vitamins and minerals they may not be getting in food.

Did you know that in the United States a poison exposure occurs every 13 seconds? Most poison accidents occur in the home and are often preventable. Of the estimated 2.5 million poisonings that occur each year, more than half involve children under the age of 6.

If you or a family member has been hospitalized, the first few days after returning home can be confusing. You may have prescriptions to fill for new medicines. You may need to restart some medicines or stop others that you were taking before your hospitalization. Or you may need to take these medicines in different doses, or at different times. These changes may cause you to make a mistake as you try to figure out what medicines to take or how to take them now that you are home.

Where do you keep your medicine? Preferably, not in the medicine cabinet in a bathroom! Surprisingly, the medicine cabinet in a steamy, moist bathroom is the worst place to keep any medicine; prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). The heat and moisture in a bathroom can make medicines weaker.

Which rheumatoid arthritis medicines carry the greatest risk of infection? Which diabetes medicines are most often associated with congestive heart failure? Which medicines for depression are most likely to cause nausea or sleeplessness? Which medicines for high blood pressure cause the least side effects?

One in three Americans has taken herbal medicines in the past year to improve health. Annual purchases soar each year costing $5 billion in sales.1

You may have heard from your doctor or pharmacist that it's important to fill all your prescriptions at the same pharmacy. This way, your pharmacist can keep a complete list of all the medicines you take. Some medicines can cause problems if you take them while taking other medicines at the same time. So, your pharmacist needs to know all the medicines you take to be sure it's safe to take them together.

A kindergarten student was wearing a Daytrana (methylphenidate) patch on his skin when he arrived at school. Daytrana is a medicine used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition that makes it hard for children to control their behavior and/or pay attention.

Acetaminophen is well known to consumers as a generic over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever and fever reducer. It has also received much public attention as a cause of liver damage when taking more than the recommended amount. To be safe, consumers need to look at the active ingredients in any medicine they are taking.

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