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Medication Safety

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. Check out our Medication Journal page to get started. (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.

At Home

  • 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.