Medication Safety

One effective way to protect your health is to keep a list of medications you take. Update it whenever your medications change. Carry the list at all times—especially when you go to the doctor or the emergency room.

When patients are admitted to hospitals, they’re always asked what drugs they take. A quick, correct answer is critical to enable doctors to treat you properly. Doctors need to be sure that medicines won’t conflict with drugs you’ve already taken. They want to make certain you get all the medicines you need. And they want to avoid anything you might be allergic to. In an emergency, you might be unsure about your meds or unable to answer questions. Drug interactions can be serious, even fatal. The risk of problems goes up if you can’t correctly tell us what you’ve been taking. An updated list helps avoid this. It’s important even for routine medical visits.

A printable medication sheet is provided for you. Just print it out and fill it in. List all your medications on a Medication Lard. That includes over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Don’t neglect items you bought without prescriptions. Also, list your surgeries and major medical procedures. If possible, show the dates for these. If you’re aware of any allergies, list them, too. Doctors can treat you best when they know as much as possible.

Printable Medication List

Medication Safety Tips

Put a copy of your medication list in your wallet or purse. Let family members and friends know where you keep it. Don’t forget to update it when your medications change. Talk to your family doctor and your pharmacist to make sure you get everything right. If you use more than one drugstore, be sure to include meds you receive from each of them. Anyone who uses medications should make the list and keep it current. This is especially true for heart or cancer patients, senior citizens and those who use many meds. It’s a way to take responsibility for your own well-being.

Why does having a current list of medications so important?

  • Provide accurate information for your caregivers in the hospital
  • Prevent delays in getting your home medications ordered while a patient
  • Ensure a more accurate diagnosis and course of treatment

 What information should a medication list include?

  • Medication name
  • Dosage
  • How often you take the medication
  • Reason you take the medication
  • Pharmacy you use (it’s always best to use one pharmacy for all your needs)

Other helpful tips

  • Include your doctor’s name on your list; this can help clarify any questions.
  • List your allergies/vaccines and bring a copy of any advance directives.
  • Have your doctor help you make a list at your next visit.
  • Please write legibly or type if possible.

Medication Safety During Your Hospital Stay

When you or a loved one is in the hospital, be sure to follow these important medication safety tips:

  • Bring a list of all the medications you take. You should include all prescription drugs,nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal and nutritional supplements. Keep it handy to share this important information with your health care providers.
  • Your medication list should also include medicines that you cannot take (because of allergies or other reactions). Be sure to include any other allergies as well (such as peanuts, shellfish, or latex).
  • If you have any questions about your medicine, ask to speak to a pharmacist.
  • Ask the names of the medications that you are receiving during your hospital or health-system visit.
  • Request any written information that is available about your medications.
  • Question anything about your medications that you don’t understand or that doesn’t seem right. Be especially alert to unexpected changes, such as a change in the appearance of your medication.
  • Enlist a family member or friend to be your advocate while you are in the hospital.