Take part in decisions about your medications.
Here are some ways you can be our partner in medication safety:
Keep an updated list of your medications with you in your wallet or purse. You may contact Outreach Services at (309) 836-1584 to request a medication wallet card or download a fillable medication journal (pdf)
to record your information and save on your home computer. (Note: In order to download a fillable form you will need Adobe Reader 9 or above.)
The list should include the following:
- Name of each medication
- Purpose of each medication
- Dose of each medication
- How often you take each one (frequency)
- Month/year you started taking each medication
- Name and phone number of your pharmacy and physician
Include on this list any prescription medications, vitamins, herbal products, dietary supplements, over-the-counter (nonprescription) medications, sample medications, eye drops, inhalation therapy, injections, and oxygen.
- Carry your wallet card with you at all times. Use it whenever you talk about your medications with your physician, nurse, or pharmacist.
- Whenever you are given a new medication (including samples from a physician’s office), make a note on your medication card.
- Whenever a medication is changed or stopped, update the information on your wallet card.
- Keep a current list of your medication and food allergies and your reactions on your medication card. Remind your doctors, nurses, and pharmacists of your allergies.
- Keep a record of your most recent pneumonia, tetanus, and flu vaccines on your medication card.
At the Pharmacy
- Read the label carefully. Make sure you can read the label on your medications and that you understand what everything means.
- Renew your medications before they run out.
- Try to obtain all of your medications from one pharmacy. If this is not possible, let all of your pharmacists know what medications you are taking.
- Ask your pharmacist for a printed list of your current medications.
At the Physician’s Office
- Take your medication list with you every time you go to your healthcare provider, especially if you see more than one.
- Make sure you know the name of any medication prescribed, how you are supposed to take it, and its purpose before you leave the office.
- Be honest with your healthcare provider about whether or not you have been taking your medications as prescribed.
- Consider using simple tools, such as a pill box or a calendar, to help improve your ability to take your medications at the correct time and to avoid missing doses.
- Take all medications as prescribed, even if you are feeling better.
- Do not share your medications with anyone else or take medications given to you by someone else.
- Store medications out of the reach of children and pets.
- Do not store medications in the bathroom or in direct sunlight.
- Dispose of medications when you are no longer taking them.
- Turn on the lights to take your medications.
- Do not crush, chew, or break any medication unless instructed to do so.
Some questions you can ask your doctor or pharmacist
- Why is this medication prescribed to me?
- Does this medication have any side effects?
- Is it safe to take this medication with the other medications I am taking?
- Is it safe to take this medication with the foods I eat? With the herbs or vitamins I am taking?
- Is it safe to take this medication with alcoholic beverages?
- How should I take this medication?
- Do I need any follow-up tests or appointments?
- Do I need any follow-up visits with my doctor?
For more information, contact MDH Outreach Services at (309) 836-1584.