Steps to Ensure Medication Safety

Taking prescription and over-the-counter medications can be confusing and even dangerous if you are already taking supplements or other prescription drugs or supplements without your physician’s knowledge. Compliance with directions for taking each medication is critical, and following these simple steps and procedures can help prevent mistakes, potential overdoses or negative drug interactions.

  • Always accept the offer to speak to a pharmacist on each new prescription (Pharmacists are required to provide counseling upon request by the patient and are required to make an offer to counsel on each new prescription).
  • Look at the label
    • Is this your medication?
    • Does your name appear on the label?
    • Is it the right medication?
  • Open the bottle
    • If it looks different ask the pharmacist why
    • Be familiar with both brand and generic names of your medication
    • Know the size, shape and color of your medication
  • Be sure you know the purpose and dose of your medication, how often you should be taking it and whether you should take it with or without food.
  • Ask if there are any side effects, or whether you should avoid any activities, foods or other medications (like supplements or over-the-counter remedies).
  • Ask what you should do if you miss a dose (don’t double up). Pill reminders are often helpful.
  • Try to get all your medications at the same pharmacy to enable the pharmacist to cross-check your records for medication interactions.
  • Tell your pharmacist what other medications you are taking, including herbal remedies.

What should patients do if they think there has been an error in their medication?

  • Never take any medication if you suspect an error has been made
  • Immediately contact the pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist alerting them that you believe there may be an error with your medication
  • After speaking with the pharmacist, if you believe a mistake has been made, call your physician right away.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!