Dr. Barbara Huggins

Medication Safety

October 25, 2007

Medication Safety -  October 25, 2007This is National Healthcare Quality Week - a time set aside to emphasize safety in the health care industry. While it's important that health care workers follow safety procedures, the patient plays a significant role too - especially when it comes to medications. UT Health Center's Dr. Barbara Huggins has more.

Unfortunately, medication errors occur. Did you know that over 770,000 patients are injured because of medication errors every year; and medication errors account for at least 7,000 deaths in the US each year?

Doctors, pharmacists, and nurses are all responsible for medication safety. However, YOU play the most important role in preventing medication errors. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices recommends learning about the medications you take, learn how to take them, when to take them, learn what the medication is supposed to do, and about the side effects.

You can assist your health care provider by taking an updated medication list to all your doctors' appointments. This list should include ALL the medications you are taking including prescription medications from every care provider, over the counter drugs, herbs, and vitamins. Your health care provider also needs to know if you drink alcohol and/or smoke. You can also ensure medicine safety by carrying a medication wallet card that may be viewed and printed from the website.

A sample medication list may look like this:

Lovaza (fish oil) 1 gm 2 capsules twice daily
Nexium 40 mg 2 capsules twice daily
Flomax 0.4 mg 1 capsule once daily
Aspirin 81 mg 1 tablet once daily
Calcium 600 mg 2 tablets daily
Zyrtec 10 mg 1 tablet daily
Veramyst 27.5 mcg 1 spray to each nostril daily

Safety measures you can take:
What I need to know about the medications I take:

Never take medications prescribed for another person.

Never share your medications with another person.

Do not be afraid to ask your doctor, your pharmacist, or your nurse about any medication – expect them to answer your questions.

For more information:

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.