From most recent estimates, one in two Americans used at least one prescription medication in the past month and one in five Americans used 3 or more prescriptions in the past month. While prescription use is increasing, so are adverse drug events (ADE). Approximately 4.5 million ambulatory visits related to ADEs occur each year. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that at least 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events occur within the healthcare system each year. All medications have inherent risks, but both healthcare providers and consumers can often manage or reduce many ADEs from occurring. So what can you do?
The following questions from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) can help you talk with your healthcare team so that you can gain a better understanding of your medications and to safely use them. You may want to ask your healthcare professional…
> What are the brand and generic names of the medicine? Can I use a generic form?
> What is the medicine for and what effect should I expect? Does this drug replace any other medicine I have been using?
> How and when will I use it, what amount will I use, and for how long? What do I do if I miss a dose?
> Should I avoid any other medicines, (prescription or over-the-counter), dietary supplements, drinks, foods or activities while using this drug?
> When should I notice a difference or improvement? When should I report back to my healthcare team? Will I need to have any testing to monitor this drug’s effects?
> Can this medicine be used safely with all my other medications and therapies? Could there be interactions?
> What are the possible side effects? What do I do if a side effect occurs?
> What other medicines or therapies could be used to treat this condition? How do the risks and benefits compare?
> How and where do I store this medicine?
> Where and how can I get written information about this medicine? What other sources of information can I use to make my decision?
For other information and resources, check out the following:
www.mentalhealthmn.org/be-informed/steps-to-wellness (Downloadable Medication Form)