Medication Safety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says millions of people are hurt every year because they do not take medications correctly. There are lots of reasons why this can happen: 

  • Health care providers may not have complete information about a drug, a patient or the patient’s condition. Without this important information, a drug may not work — or worse, could cause further problems. 
  • A patient doesn’t follow instructions when taking a drug. 
  • A patient takes too much of a drug. 
  • Someone takes drugs prescribed for another person. Some drugs, particularly certain pain medications, can cause harm — even death — in a single dose if taken by the wrong person.

Here are some tips to help you protect yourself. 

Know Your Medications

Know exactly what medications you take, how much you take and when you take them. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. Be sure you can give this information to your health care provider. To help you keep up with all the medications you take, use the South Carolina Hospital Association’s medication safety form. (This link leads to a third party website. The South Carolina Hospital Association is solely responsible for the contents and privacy policy on its site.) 

Read Labels

Never take more than the recommended or prescribed dose of your medications. Some drugs are harmful or deadly when taken in higher amounts. There are also some drugs that you should never take with other drugs, without direction from a health care provider.

Make sure you understand exactly how you should take your medication. If you have any questions, don’t guess! Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Get more information at the FDA’s Safe Use Initiative. (This link leads to a third party website. The FDA is solely responsible for the contents and privacy policy on its site.) 

Stay Informed

Sign up for the FDA’s MedWatch alerts. MedWatch helps you get the latest medication safety news. (This link leads to a third party website. The FDA is solely responsible for the contents and privacy policy on its site.)