Used properly, medications help cure infectious diseases, prevent complications of chronic diseases, and ease pain. However, administered incorrectly, medications can lead to harmful reactions, long-term complications, and even death. As a patient, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of being a victim of a medication error at the doctor’s office, hospital, and pharmacy.
Bring in Your Medications
If you need to visit the hospital, your healthcare team needs to know every type of medication you are currently taking. This means you need to disclose any prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal supplements you have in your system. The easiest way to provide your current medication information is by taking it all to the hospital in a bag to show your nurse or physician.
Find out if You Should Continue Certain Medications
It may not be necessary to continue with your daily medications if you are receiving hospital treatment. For example, you should ask your doctor whether or not you should still be taking medicine for high blood pressure or heart disease when you are in the hospital. In fact, your hospital doctors and nurses may not even know what prescription drugs you are currently taking, so you need to ask them explicitly.
Compare Your ID
Some medication errors occur when a nurse mistakenly administers medication to the wrong patient. Before you go to the pharmacy to fill your prescription, you can ask the nurse to compare your ID with the name on the prescription. If you are going into surgery, start creating a list of drugs that you will likely be taking. By bringing this list with you to the hospital, you’ll be better able to notice any changes in your medication regimen, which can help you avoid taking the wrong medicine.
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