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Steps To Avoid Medication Mishaps

Drugs are powerful weapons against the many illnesses that affect our health. We all know that and we know that medicines are crucial in the fight to relieve pain and suffering. But we must be careful with how we use them to avoid drug related mishaps.

When hearing about people overdosing or other problems associated with the misuse of drugs, most of us tend to think of illegal drugs. We don't think of prescription drugs or over the counter medications that are common in most homes. But the truth is, there are many incidences of overdosing, over medicating, and illegal use of these medications.

There has always been cases in which people mistakenly take the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of prescription medicines. Such cases often result in serious health issues such as internal injuries, long term mental and physical disabilities, and even death.

It is not uncommon for people to have severe adverse reactions from taking the wrong medications or by ingesting a combination of drugs, or drugs and alcohol, that were never meant to be taken together.

Listed below are 13 steps to prevent drug mishaps:

  • Take the time to read and understand what you are taking.
  • Ask questions. Talk to your doctor about the prescriptions he is giving you. You have a right to know about any medicines you are taking and if there are any possible side affects.
  • Keep your medications out of the reach of children.
  • Never share your prescribed medications with others and never take someone else's medicine.
  • If you have adverse reactions to any medications, notify your doctor immediately.
  • Make a list of the names and dosage levels of all medicines that you take and keep it with you at all times. Also, give the list to a family member or a close friend.
  • If you are prescribed medications by a specialist, let your primary care physician know.
  • If you are taking any type of over the counter medication, let your doctor know and ask if there is any possibility of the medicines reacting negatively with each other.
  • Alcohol and prescription drugs can be a lethal combination. If you are a drinker, whether it's beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages, talk to your doctor about the affects of drinking while taking medications.
  • Use a daily pillbox or wall chart to remind you when your medicines are to be taken, especially if you are taking multiple medications.
  • Try to fill your prescriptions at the same pharmacy if possible. It reduces the chances of medicine mishaps.
  • If your medicines make you dizzy, especially if you have to drive, work around machinery, or in a hazardous environment, talk to your doctor about safer alternatives.
  • If you think you've taken the wrong medication or dosage, let someone know and if there are negative reactions, call your doctor, an ambulance, or go to an emergency room immediately.

Problems associated with medicine mishaps are more prevalent than you might think. Many cases are not reported because they don't cause serious complications, but according to the Institute of Medicine, over 1.5 million prescription and over the counter drug mishaps occur each year and most are preventable.

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