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5 Ways to Keep Track and Know Your Medications
As new medicines develop to help you live a healthy life, it’s vital to keep track of medications.
In the United States, 82% of adults take one medication and 29% take five or more medications. While this increase in medication use is more than likely related to the increased amount of medications for specific disease states, it can also increase the risk of medication errors and adverse medication reactions.
Ask yourself: Can you name all of the medications you are taking? Do you know what doses you are taking and what the medicine is for?
To help prevent errors and adverse medication reactions, you can improve your own medication safety by taking the following steps.
- Always keep a medication list in your wallet or purse. The list should not only include the medication name, but also the dose, time of administration, and reason you take each one. It is also very important to include all over-the-counter medications, supplements, and herbal products. These non-prescription medications can sometimes have serious interactions with prescription medications. The following website has a blank template to develop a patient specific medication for you, your spouse, or anyone who you think requires one: http://www.safemedication.com/safemed/MyMedicineList/MyMedicineList_1.aspx
- Never take medications that are not prescribed for you. Prescriptions are written for one patient in mind. Taking another person’s medication can lead to allergic reactions, adverse medication reactions, and is against the law.
- Make sure that all medications are stored properly away from children and pets. The bathroom cabinet is not the best place for storage as the humidity and temperature are commonly higher than other areas of the house.
- Remember to throw away expired medications. Expired medications can become ineffective or potentially toxic.
- When in doubt, ask. Your doctor and pharmacist are valuable resources for drug information. Your questions help them know what additional information to provide you.
The Beebe Pharmacy Department assigned two pharmacists to the Emergency Department (ED) in 2013 as part of a medicine reconciliation initiative to improve medications safety and prevent adverse medication events. Today, the pharmacy role in the ED has expanded to 24-hour coverage from a designated office based in the department. Two pharmacists supported by three certified pharmacy techs assist the emergency staff with such efforts as drug choice, medication therapy management, and the identification of any adverse drug interactions.
All patients taking medications consult a pharmacist. From the ED Pharmacy office, pharmacists and pharmacy techs utilize comprehensive online drug databases that give them access to information about the medications previously prescribed to patients presenting to the Emergency Department.
Beebe Healthcare’s ED treats more than 48,000 patients a year. The goal of this initiative focuses on patient safety and effective, efficient patient care. It also is recommended and supported by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Lisa L. Deal, PharmD, FASHP, BCPS, BSN, RN, is Director of Pharmacy Services at SUN Behavioral Health and Emergency Medicine Pharmacy Specialist at Beebe Medical Center. She recently received Fellow Status from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), which recognizes pharmacists who have excelled in pharmacy practice and distinguished themselves through service and contributions to ASHP.
Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people who live in, work in, and visit the communities we serve. Beebe Healthcare has three campuses: the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus, which houses the medical center; the Rehoboth Beach Health Campus; and coming in 2020, the South Coastal Health Campus. Beebe Healthcare offers primary care as well as specialized services in the areas of cardiac and vascular, general surgery, robotic surgery, cancer treatment, women's health, and orthopaedics. Beebe also offers walk-in care, lab, imaging and physical rehabilitation services at several locations throughout Sussex County, in addition to a Home Care program and an adult activities center.
For more information about Beebe Healthcare, go to www.beebehealthcare.org. To find out how Beebe Healthcare is Creating the Next Generation of Care for the community, go to www.nextgenerationofcare.org.