Three Ways to Reduce Medication Errors
Last Edited: April 12th, 2012

According to Purdue University, more than 1.5 million Americans experience a medication error every year. While these statistics are staggering, the majority, if not all of these errors are preventable.

To ensure that you don't fall victim to a medication error, follow these three simple steps.

1). Always read the label of your medication before taking it.

Just like brushing your teeth, taking your prescription medications is a daily routine. But if you have ever reached for the tube of hair gel or hand cream rather than the tube of toothpaste, you know how easy it can be to make a common mistake in vision. The same is true for your medications: Before you take any pill or tablet, always double-check the label to make sure that you are taking the right medication. You may even want to pause another few moments and reread the dosage instructions so that you know that you are taking the proper amount as well.

2). Use one pharmacist for your prescription needs.

While many pharmacists have access to electronic records of your medical history, there is no guarantee that they have knowledge of all the medications you are taking. Using one pharmacist for one medication and another pharmacy for another prescription ups your chances of a drug interaction and dangerous side effects. To avoid this risky scenario, utilize one pharmacy for all of your medication needs. Consider proximity to your residence, hours of operation, quality of care and customer service as you decide which pharmacist to choose as your one-stop medication resource.

3). Know as much as you can about the medications you are taking.

The saying "knowledge is power" takes on new meaning when you apply it to your health. Understanding as much as you can about the prescription medications you are taking not just provides you with a sense of self empowerment, but it also has the power to improve your health or in some cases, save your life. When you know why are taking your prescriptions, what their contraindications are, what they do and precisely how you should take your medication, you immediately place the control of your health into your own hands.

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