When you look at your medication, do you just read the dosage amount and go? You might be making a dangerous mistake. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology reports that in the past 13 years, calls to poison control centers for medication errors doubled.
According to the study, the most common types of medication errors were taking the incorrect dose, taking the wrong medication and inadvertently taking the same medication twice.
Before you take any medication, especially a new prescription, always follow these steps:
Review the ingredients
Over-the-counter medications such as painkillers, cold medicine or steroid creams will list the active ingredient. Always check that you are getting the active ingredient you want and be aware of double dosing. For instance, some cold medications contain ibuprofen or other pain medication, so check the active ingredients before you take an additional pain medicine.
Prescription medication labels will list the drug name and include a physical description of the product. Double-check that the medication name and pill description match the medication you were expecting.
Read the warnings
Your doctor and pharmacist probably discussed the potential side effects of a prescription medication with you, but it’s worth reviewing the warnings before you take a new drug. For any medication, you should also check for possible interactions with your current prescription medications or health concerns. For example, for those with congestive heart failure or renal impairment, ibuprofen can cause kidney damage or worsening of heart conditions, and those on blood thinners must be cautious with aspirin and many other over-the-counter medicines.
Ensure the right dose
Are the instructions for a certain number of tablets or for a measured amount, such as milligrams? It never hurts to double check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you’re getting the correct dose.
Check the expiration dates
Medication can be less effective or even dangerous if taken after the expiration date. Storage in heat or moisture makes this worse. Do not dispose of medication down the sink.
Get rid of excess
If your medication has changed or been stopped and you still have some left over that you need to dispose of, take it to the police departments in Albany, Philomath, Lincoln City or Newport. They take unused medications year-round. You can also take it to a Drug Enforcement Agency take-back event, which are typically held once a year.
For opioids and other controlled substances, the Food and Drug Administration recommends getting rid of any leftovers immediately to avoid accidental overdose or illegal abuse.
Consider a pill dispenser
If you have a lot of medications to keep track of or often find yourself wondering if you took a dose, a pill dispenser can really help. There a variety of dispensers available now from simple weekly or monthly pill boxes to sophisticated management systems.