Safety Toolbox

Safety Toolbox (51)


Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are used to treat a variety of conditions, from headaches to stomachaches. These medicines are easily accessible because you do not need a prescription from a doctor to purchase them. Therefore, OTC medicines are an appealing treatment option.

However, it is important to remember that just like prescription medicines, OTC products can cause serious side effects especially if they are taken wrong or with other medicines. Here are a few tips to help you make safe choices and reduce your risk of harm when using OTC medicines.

Monday, 21 April 2014 19:19

Preventing Diagnostic Error Resources

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diagnostic errors image

The National Patient Safety Foundation, in collaboration with the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine recently developed a package of educational materials for patients and consumers specifically related to better understanding and prevention of diagnostic errors. Click here for links and resources to download.

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Few caregivers are more devoted than parents when caring for a child. Yet, even the most cautious and educated parents will make mistakes when giving medicine to children or fail to protect children from accidental poisonings. Dangerous mistakes with medicines are three times more likely with children than adults, and more than half of all accidental poisonings—mostly with medicines—occur in children less than 5 years old. The list that follows, although not inclusive, covers 10 important safety tips for parents

topten spot-smMost people wouldn't think twice about applying over-the-counter (OTC) creams, lotions, ointments, sprays, or patches to the skin. However, the medicines in these products can enter the body just like medicines taken by mouth.

topten spot-smIs your medicine cabinet a source for a teen’s legal “high?” Because a doctor’s prescription is not needed, many mistakenly believe that over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are safer than prescription medicines and illegal street drugs. They are in fact safe and effective when taken as directed, but even OTC medicines—including herbals—can cause serious and potentially fatal side effects when abused.

topten spot-smOver-the-counter liquid medications can be found in practically every medicine cabinet. Surprisingly though, there’s not a standard way to measure liquid medicines doses.

topten spot-smIt’s a fact of life. Medication errors happen every day in all healthcare settings, even in the most prestigious medical centers. And more than ever, consumers are aware of just how often these medications errors can happen. But with this knowledge comes power. Consumers can and should take an active role when it comes to medication safety during a hospitalization.

topten spot-smTraveling can be hectic enough without the added problem of worrying about your medicines. So when you’re on-the-go, it’s important to make sure your medicine travels safely with you. Here are some things to keep in mind to reduce the risk that something will go wrong: 

This list from FDA tells you what expired, unwanted, or unused medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to people and pets in the home. Flushing these medicines will get rid of them right away and help keep your family and pets safe.

FDA continually evaluates medicines for safety risks and will update the list as needed.


Active Ingredient

Abstral (PDF - 1M), tablets (sublingual)


Actiq (PDF - 251KB), oral transmucosal lozenge *

Fentanyl Citrate

Avinza (PDF - 51KB), capsules (extended release)

Morphine Sulfate

Buprenorphine Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual) *

Buprenorphine Hydrochloride

Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual) *

Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride

Butrans (PDF - 388KB), transdermal patch system


Daytrana (PDF - 281KB),transdermal patch system


Demerol, tablets *

Meperidine Hydrochloride

Demerol, oral solution *

Meperidine Hydrochloride

Diastat/Diastat AcuDial, rectal gel [for disposal
instructions: click on link, then go to "Label information"
and view current label] 


Dilaudid, tablets *

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

Dilaudid, oral liquid *

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

Dolophine Hydrochloride (PDF - 48KB), tablets *

Methadone Hydrochloride

Duragesic (PDF - 179KB), patch (extended release) *


Embeda (PDF - 39KB), capsules (extended release)

Morphine Sulfate; Naltrexone Hydrochloride

Exalgo (PDF - 83KB), tablets (extended release)

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

Fentora (PDF - 338KB), tablets (buccal)

Fentanyl Citrate

Kadian (PDF - 135KB), capsules (extended release)

Morphine Sulfate

Methadone Hydrochloride, oral solution *

Methadone Hydrochloride

Methadose, tablets *

Methadone Hydrochloride

Morphine Sulfate, tablets (immediate release) *

Morphine Sulfate

Morphine Sulfate (PDF - 282KB), oral solution *

Morphine Sulfate

MS Contin (PDF - 433KB), tablets (extended release) *

Morphine Sulfate

Nucynta ER (PDF - 38KB), tablets (extended release)


Onsolis (PDF - 297KB), soluble film (buccal)

Fentanyl Citrate

Opana, tablets (immediate release)

Oxymorphone Hydrochloride

Opana ER (PDF - 56KB), tablets (extended release)

Oxymorphone Hydrochloride

Oxecta, tablets (immediate release)

Oxycodone Hydrochloride

Oxycodone Hydrochloride, capsules

Oxycodone Hydrochloride

Oxycodone Hydrochloride (PDF - 100KB), oral solution

Oxycodone Hydrochloride

Oxycontin (PDF - 417KB), tablets (extended release)

Oxycodone Hydrochloride

Percocet, tablets *

Acetaminophen; Oxycodone Hydrochloride

Percodan, tablets *

Aspirin; Oxycodone Hydrochloride

Suboxone (PDF - 83KB), film (sublingual)

Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride

Xyrem (PDF - 185KB), oral solution

Sodium Oxybate

Zubsolv (PDF - 354KB), tablets (sublingual)

Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride


*These medicines have generic versions available or are only available in generic formulations.

FDA continually evaluates medicines for safety risks and will update the list as needed.  

List revised: November 2013

1Consumers are advised to check their local laws and ordinances to make sure medicines can legally be disposed of with their household trash.

For specific drug product labeling information, go to DailyMed or Drugs@FDA.


Med-ERRS, a division of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, is seeking consumers who are willing to participate in brief online surveys to help identify potential confusion with the names of new non-prescription medications. Consumers will be asked a few questions designed to learn about the risk of errors caused by the similarity of a new product’s name and an existing product’s name. Your identity will remain completely confidential, and your contact information will not be shared with any other organization. An online survey generally takes no more than 10 minutes to complete. A small honorarium will be offered.

If you would like to participate in these surveys from time to time, please click the SIGN UP button below, and you will be taken to a secure webpage where you can provide your contact information. You will then be contacted when participants are needed for a survey.

If you have any questions, please contact Med-ERRS at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Sign Up

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