Information to keep you safe when taking medication

Medication safety

In Australia, 250,000 people are hospitalised each year because of medication error, misuse and misadventure. Another 400,000 presentations to emergency departments are likely to be due to medication-related problems. This costs Australia approximately $1.5 Billion in hospital admissions alone, not to mention the impact that this has on the individual and productivity.

Medication errors can occur for a number of reasons, including human and other factors affecting how medicines are prescribed, dispensed or administered.

The 5 rights for safely taking medication

When thinking about medication safety there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you avoid medication mishaps; healthcare professionals refer to them as the 5 rights, they are:

  • Right person – make sure the medication you are taking was prescribed for you, do not share your medication with anyone else and don’t use other people medication;
  • Right medicine – make sure you check the medication as some packaging can look the same;
  • Right dose – make sure that you take the dose prescribed by your doctor;
  • Right time – taking your medication at the right time ensures the best result, also ensure you follow directions regarding before food, after food or with food; and
  • Right route – some oral medication is best taken under the tongue for faster absorption, make sure you take the medication as your doctor prescribed it.

And don’t forget these medication safety golden rules…

Expiry dates matter

Some other things to consider are the expiry date as medication beyond use by date may not have the same effect. Your local pharmacy will often take any out of date or unused medications for safe disposal.

Take the whole course of anti biotics

If you are prescribed anti biotics, you should complete the whole course even if you are feeling better. Finishing the course can reduce anti biotic resistant strains from developing.

Are you taking fish oil or another supplement?

You should also be aware that some over the counter products can interact with prescribed medication, for example fish oil can cause an increase in bleeding so if you are prescribed blood thinners you should consult your doctor.

Free home medicine review

Free home medicines reviews are available when ordered by your doctor, these are a good idea if you take lots of medicines, have medicines prescribed by different doctors, don’t always remember to take your medicines or are concerned about your medications.

This information is general in nature and individualised medical advice should be sought from a general practitioner (GP) or appropriate medical practitioner.

Salveo Healthcare provides these blog resources to support Tasmanians as part of the Advanced Preventative Care Program.