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Some Ways to Avoid Medication Errors


Consumer tips for avoiding medication errors, from the Institute of Medicine:

-Maintain a list of prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins and other dietary supplements you use. Take that list with you whenever you visit a health care provider.

-Ask your doctor to write down the drug's name, dose and how to take it. At the pharmacy, make sure those instructions match what's on the bottle you're given.

-You can ask both the doctor and pharmacist about side effects and how to use the drug.

-Pharmacies often maintain computer records that can flag drugs that will interact dangerously, if you fill all your prescriptions at the same chain.

-Information leaflets usually come with prescription drugs, but ask the pharmacist for one if you don't receive it.

-At the hospital, ask the doctor and nurse what drugs you're being given and why.

-Before surgery, ask if there are any medicines you should avoid or stop taking beforehand.

-Prior to hospital discharge, ask for a list of medications you should be taking at home and how to take them.

-In the hospital, you have the right to have a relative or other surrogate present whenever you receive medication and cannot monitor that process yourself.



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