Our medicine cabinets are stocked with pills and creams and elixirs to make us feel better and cure our every ailment, but are we using our medications correctly? Are we being safe? There is a lot you probably don’t know about medication safety, and these common medication errors can do serious damage to your health.
The U.S. Institute of Medicine reports “injuries related to drug treatment harm at least 1.5 million Americans each year, resulting in an additional $3.5 billion in hospital spending.” These drug mistakes can lead to everything from discomfort to illness to serious medical conditions or even death. Whether you are dealing with over the counter (OTC) medicines or prescription medication, drug mistakes can happen, and that accidental misuse can cause major problems for your health. The good news is that most of these common medication errors can be avoided if you follow certain guidelines and get smart about what’s hiding in your medicine cabinet.
Remember that medication safety is not just a suggestion, but also a necessity for anyone regardless of your health needs and medication requirements.
20 Common Medication Errors to Avoid
1. Check Expiration Dates
All medications, whether OTC or prescription, have expiration dates. Many of us keep medicine in our bathroom stash for longer than we need it, and then years later we take those pills without even considering the expiration date. Some medication may lose its potency or may become dangerous if it is expired. Always check to make sure your medication is current and is safe to consume.
2. Read the Instructions
Do you pick up your medication from the pharmacy counter or drugstore and then just take said medicine without reading the instructions? Bad idea. Always read the drug label and directions from both the FDA and from your doctor. There’s a reason you are supposed to take your medication a certain way (with food, two times a day, beginning on a certain day…) so pay close attention to the instructions.
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