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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures


Preventing Errors

Today's medicines are extremely powerful and complex. They can be very helpful when they are used properly. Used improperly, however, they can cause serious harm or even death.

Make the best use of your medicines with these tips:

  • Keep a list of all prescription and non–prescription medicines, vitamins, herbal and nutritional supplements.
  • Tell your health care provider how you take your medication, especially if this is different from the original directions.
  • Ask if you should avoid certain foods, beverages, other medicines, or activities while you are taking the drug.
  • Request written information on the drug product.
  • Question anything you don't understand. Be alert to unexpected changes, such as receiving a prescription refill that has a different strength or appearance from your original prescription.
  • Show that you understand how to use your medication by repeating information about your prescription back to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Report any unexpected side effects that you experience to your physician.
  • Ask a friend or relative to help you follow these suggestions if you are too ill.

Tips shared by Vida Hofmann, Director, Pharmacy, Infection Prevention and Control, Lab and Diagnostics, St. John's Rehab