You can help prevent medicine errors by taking an active role. An easy way to start is to keep a list of all the medicines you take. Your list will help the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others know what is safe for you to take. HealthEast wants to help you get started. This is being done with the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety and the Minnesota Hospital Association.
Keep track of your medicationsUse "My Medicine List" to create a list of your medications. Creating this list and keeping it up-to-date, is a simple step that you can take to help ensure your health and safety.
Always keep your list in your wallet or purse for easy access. When listing the medicines you take, be sure to include: prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements.
Call HealthEast Care Connection at 651-326-CARE (2273) to have this form mailed to you.
Print "My Medicine List"
Know about your medicines
For each medicine you take, understand:
- What is the name of the medicine?
- What is it for?
- What does it look like?
- What time should I take it?
- How much of it should I take each time?
- How should I take it - should I take it with food?
- How long should I take it?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- Are there any side effects? What should I do if I have any?
- How should I store it?
- Is it safe to take with other medicine that I am taking, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins or herbals?
- What food, drink or activities should I avoid while taking it?
If you have questions, call your doctor or pharmacist.
- Keep your Medicine List updated.
- Take only the medicine given to you by your doctor or pharmacist.
- Read the label each time you take your medicine.
- Put all medicine in a place where children and pets cannot reach it.
- Use a compartmental medication box if you take medicine each day.
- Check the date on all medicine. Throw it away if it is expired or no longer needed. (If no expiration date exists on a prescription, consider it expired if you received it more than one year ago.)
- If you feel that any medicine is making you sick or causing you pain, call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor about any allergies or reactions that you have had to medicine in the past. Write these on your Medicine List.
- When you are admitted to the hospital, take your updated Medicine List or bring all of your medicines in the original bottles. Include over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbals.
- When you are being sent home from the hospital, ask your doctor or nurse to tell you what medicines you should be taking and how to take them. You can be given an updated Medicine List before you leave the hospital
- Take medicine in the dark.
- Stop taking the medicine just because you feel better, unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it.
- Take your medicine out of one bottle and put it in another.
- Keep medicine in the car, by the stove or in the bathroom, since heat and dampness can affect how it works.
At the drug store
Take new medicine prescriptions and refills to the same drug store. The pharmacist then has a list of your medicines. He or she can make sure the medicines work together and won't make you sick.
- If you use more than one drugstore, make sure each one has a list of all of your medicines.
- Ask the pharmacist the name of the medicine and how you should take it. Make sure that this information matches what your doctor told you.
- Make sure that any refill of the medicine is the same color, size and shape. If there is any difference, ask why.