Medication Safety Articles


The story: If you receive a medication leaflet with your prescription, do you read it? Recent studies show that 3 out of 4 people throw the medication leaflet away without ever glancing at it! But reading the leaflet can help you avoid a serious mistake. Here's just one story:

Consumers who use dietary supplements such as vitamins have no way of knowing if the products they select meet certain quality manufacturing standards. They also have no way of knowing if they are dealing with reputable manufacturers. In response, a drug standards organization called the US Pharmacopeia (USP) established The Dietary Supplement Verification Program (DSVP).

Plants are a common cause of poisoning. Both indoor and outdoor plants can be poisonous. Some plants can cause a skin rash, others can cause an upset stomach if ingested and still others can cause more serious problems by harming your heart, kidneys or other organs. Below is a partial list of indoor and outdoor plants that are considered poisonous.

Are you taking charge of your medicines? If not, you can be putting your health at risk. Proper medication administration is a three tier effort that includes your physician, your pharmacist and yourself. Knowing about the drugs you take today can save you a lot of grief tomorrow.

The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System issued an alert about poisonings occurring when torch lamp oil (Tiki lamp oil) was mistaken for apple juice. In several unrelated incidents, individuals became critically ill, and one person died, after accidentally ingesting the oil. Lamp oils are particularly hazardous.

One of the most common causes of poisoning among seniors is accidental medication overdose. Statistics show that while adults over 65 years of age represent only 13 percent of the total population, they consume more than 30 percent of all prescribed medications and 40 percent of all over-the-counter medications.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is often referred to as the silent killer. It is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is produced as a by-product from the incomplete burning of carbon containing fuels. This includes wood, oil, natural gas, kerosene, coal and gasoline (CO is in exhaust from the car).

Traveling on vacation can be hectic enough without the added problem of worrying about your medications. Keep in mind that medications are sensitive to temperature extremes. Therefore, if you're traveling to a hot and humid climate, take extra care to keep your medicines in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

Mixing medications can have lethal consequences. This issue is of particular importance to seniors and their caregivers. Painkillers are the major cause of poisoning deaths when taken in excess or in combination with other drugs which also suppress respiration.

The answer is "YES" if you have someone age 12 to 25 living in your house. According to a 2006 survey recently released by the federal government, approximately 5 percent of people in this age group have used over-the-counter (OTC) cough or cold medicine to get high.

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