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Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common form of healthcare mistakes.

  • When you get your medication, read the label, including the warnings. Make sure it is what the doctor ordered for you.
  • You should make a list of all medicines you are taking and any drug allergies you may have. Remember to include prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines such as vitamins and herbs on your list.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist the purpse of the medication and ask for written information about it. Also inquire about the side effects of the medication.
  • If you do not recognize a medication, verify that it is for you.
  • You can also ask about the contents of intravenous fulids (drip). If you are given a drip, ask the nurse how long it should take to 'run out'.
  • Tell the nurse if you feel it doesn't seem to be dripping properly (that it is too fast or too slow).
  • Tell your doctors and nurses about allergies you have, or unexpected reactions you have had to medications in the past.
  • If you are taking multiple medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take those medications together. This holds true for vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter drugs, too.