Friday, April 1, 2011

Medication Safety Week - April 1 - 7


Communication is key because it can prevent so many errors

Purpose: to raise awareness about medication safety and offer strategies to reduce risk. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an estimated 76.6 billion dollars is spent annually on preventable medication-related illnesses. Taking a more active role to learn about medicines and supplements and communicating more effectively with healthcare practitioners may avert serious harm. (Most of this article is provided by the Women’s Heart Foundation,  – thank you

There will be 7 Focus days of Medication Safety Week.  They are:

·       April 1: Clean out your medicine cabinet Day
·       April 2: Know Your Medicines Day
·       April 3: Reading Medicine Labels Carefully Day
·       April 4: Dietary Supplements Day
·       April 5: Organize Your Medicines Day
·       April 6: Transitional Care Day
·       April 7: Better Communication with Health Professionals Day

April 1, 2011 Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day.

I’m lucky to have a nurse as my wife.  She checks labels, expiration dates, reads the profile sheet to ensure we understand possible side effects and reactions to other medications and or food/drinks.

·       Start with a clean slate. Discard outdated medicines and old prescriptions.  Store medicines in their original containers and in a cool, dry place. Locate medicines away from children and pets and from those who do not understand. 
·       Although the week’s final day encourages people to communicate more fully with their health care providers, especially the prescribing provider, the day’s communication theme is an overall goal of the entire week.

April 2: Know Your Medicines Day

Make a list of all the medicines you are taking. Write down both the generic and brand names of medicines as this may prevent inadvertently double-dosing. Know the drug’s purpose and why you are taking it. Be able to identify pills by name. List prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, birth control pills and patches and supplements. Keep the list updated and keep it with you at all times. Go to Medication Record (English version); or Medication Record (Spanish version); and to Health History Record (English version). 
April 3: Reading Medicine Labels Carefully Day

Keep medicines in their original containers. Pay attention to warnings. Note that some medicines can react with foods. Others have to be taken on an empty stomach. Some lose potency quickly and must be kept in an air-tight container. The effectiveness of many medicines is dependent upon taking them at correct times. How the medicine is to be taken –the route – is also important (i.e. by mouth, through the skin, under the tongue, inhaling, rectal or vaginal suppository, enema or douche).  Injections are administered either intramuscular (IM) in a deep muscle such as pain medications and vitamins; intradermal (ID) under the skin such as insulin or intravenous (IV) in the vein. Be Careful!

April 4: Dietary Supplements Day

Discuss taking a dietary supplement with your doctor or practitioner and your pharmacist before starting it. Herbals and other dietary supplements can react with medicines and have an unknown synergistic effect. All herbals are contraindicated while pregnant or breastfeeding. Go to Dietary Supplements. Go to - the federal government's drug advisory on drug interactions with St. John's Wort. Go to , an information resource on complimentary and alternative medicines.  

We will continue with the others days early next week.

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