How you can help prevent medication errors

Assortment of pills and supplementsMedication errors are one of the most common kinds of medical mistakes. Fortunately, patients are not harmed by medication errors in most cases. Together, you and your healthcare provider can take steps to protect yourself and prevent these kinds of mistakes from occurring.

  • Write a list of your over-the-counter and prescription medicines as well as herbal products, nutritional supplements and vitamins. Remember to update the list if your doctor prescribes a new medicine or changes the dosage.
  • Know the names of your medicines and what health condition they are treating.
  • Share medication allergies (the name of the medicine and what happens when you take it) with your doctor or nurse.
  • Talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you have concerns or questions about a medicine or its side effects.
  • If possible, have all your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy. This can help your pharmacist identify potentially inappropriate drug interactions.
  • Check your medicines at least twice a year. Dispose of expired medicines through a program like Operation Medicine Drop, which safely destroys unused and unwanted drugs. Durham Police Department has a permanent drop box at its headquarters on 505 West Chapel Hill Street; residents can drop off medications there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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