Protect Against Prescription Drug Interactions

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Avoiding medication errors

Medicine mistakes can happen in the hospital, at the pharmacy or at home. But there are a lot of ways you can help keep yourself and your family safe. For example, ask your doctor and pharmacist about the drugs you take. And make sure you get the answers you need.

Here are some of the common medicine mistakes:

Sound-alike drug names
Drug names can be confusing for patients and doctors. Atacan and Ativan sound alike but have very different uses. 

Unclear handwriting on the prescription
The pharmacist may misread the name of the drug is the handwriting is unclear. This can lead to you taking too much or too little of your medicine.

Forgetting to take your medicine
Perhaps you forgot that you took your pill in the morning, so you take another one in the afternoon.

Taking the wrong medicine
This can lead to you taking too much or too littel of your medicine.

What you can do to guard against drug interaction

  • Stick to your medicine schedule. Don't take more or less than your doctor tells you to. Don't stop taking the medicine without checking with your doctor first.
  • Know the side effects that your medicine can cause, and what to do if they occur. If you feel strange after starting a new medicine, call your doctor right away.
  • Make sure you're taking the correct drug. Keep each medicine in its original container. Never take your medicine in the dark.
  • If you tend to forget to take your medicine, try using special pill boxes to help you remember.
  • Make sure your doctors and pharmacist know everything that you are taking, including prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, herbs and vitamins. Tell them about your allergies.
  • In the hospital, make sure that everyone knows your medical and medicine history, including allergies and previous bad reactions to anesthesia. Ask about any new medicine you get. Ask the nurse to make sure that each new medicine matches what the doctor ordered.
  • If you are too ill to ask questions or feel uncomfortable, have a family member or friend ask for you.

To read more about preventing interactions between your prescriptions, go to Intelihealth.

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