Medication Safety Tips
Look over the packaging before you take a dose to make
sure you have the right medication. It is easy to mix up prescriptions
because their bottles often look the same.
If you are taking medication in pill form, take a few sips of
water before swallowing the pill, and drink a full glass as
you swallow it. This will decrease the chances of the pill
getting stuck in your throat or esophagus.
Don't crush pills without asking your pharmacist. Some
pills need an intact coating or capsule in order to work
When crushing a pill, use a piece of wax paper folded in
fours. First, fold and unfold the paper. Then place the pill
in the center of the paper, fold it, and use a hard object to
crush the pill into powder. When it is crushed, unfold the paper
and use a fold groove to pour the powdered pill. This will
prevent the pill from slipping as you try to crush it.
For liquid medications, use the same measuring device every
time. A good idea is to ask for a device from your
pharmacist. Spoons vary in terms of how much they hold. If you
use a spoon, use the same one each time.
Take the prescription for the duration of the time it is
prescribed. Don't slack on taking a prescription just
because you feel better. This can cause a relapse of the
illness, or, as in the case of antibiotics, a worse illness than
the one you started out with.
Store medications in the containers they originally came in.
Changing containers or mixing different types of pills can
change their effectiveness and have serious safety consequences.
Throw out each medication after you are finished taking it.
Age changes the effectiveness of most prescriptions. Call your
physician for a new prescription if symptoms recur. Copy the
information from the prescription bottle on a separate piece of
paper before you throw it out, and retain the information for
Keep a list of your prescriptions.
Don't share your prescriptions with other people, even if
they seem to have the same symptoms or have the same illness.
Medications and dosages differ widely from person to person,
depending on health history and circumstances.
Be sure to keep all medication out of the reach of children.
Do not give your child a dose of your prescription. Dosages and
medications are often different for adults and children.
Keep the number of a poison control center near your
prescriptions in case you accidentally take the wrong
prescription or too much medication.