Jennifer Gold

Jennifer Gold

A report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices lists several reasons for the serious and sometime fatal overdoses that have occurred when methadone is used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain.

Monday, 26 March 2012 19:53

Lock it Up: Medicine Safety in Your Home

Every year thousands of children are hospitalized and some die after taking medicine not meant for them. Teens share stolen prescription drugs at "pharm parties" and toddlers are tempted by colorful pills that look like candy. In this Consumer Update video, FDA pharmacist Connie Jung explains how you can prevent harm by locking your medicine up.

Monday, 26 March 2012 19:43

Giving Medicine to Children

When young children are sick and cranky, it can be tough to get them to take their medicine. Watch this video for tips from an FDA pediatrician on giving the dose without the battle.

Monday, 26 March 2012 19:02

Drug Interactions: What You Should Know

There are more opportunities today than ever before to learn about your health and to take better care of yourself. It is also more important than ever to know about the medicines you take. If you take several different medicines, see more than one doctor, or have certain health conditions, you and your doctors need to be aware of all the medicines you take. Doing so will help you to avoid potential problems such as drug interactions.

Your pharmacist can help you learn how to use your prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines safely and to increase the benefits and decrease the risks. You can also use these tips when talking with your other healthcare professionals.

Although medicines can make you feel better and help you get well, it's important to know that ALL medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, have risks as well as benefits.

When it comes to using medicine, there is no such thing as completely safe. All medicines have risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug means that the benefits outweigh the known risks that are outlined on the drug's label.

topten spot-smWith so many different medication names, it's possible for a mix-up to occur between two different drugs. This can occur because many medications share very similar letters. When spoken or written, these names can sound or look very similar. We call these medications, sound-alike or look-alike medications.

Friday, 09 March 2012 17:38

List of Confused Drug Names

Many medications share similar letters. They are frequently referred to as medications with "look-alike" names. These medications can appear very similar when written or may sound alike when spoken. Because of the similarities, these medications have sometimes been mixed up with each other. image of confused drug names 2015

A list of the most frequently confused drug names can be located here. If you find one of the medications you take on this list, look at the other medication(s) that has a similar name. When you pick up medication at the pharmacy, be sure a mix-up has not happened. Handwritten prescriptions for medications with similar names can easily be confused. Or a prescription called into the pharmacy could be misheard as another sound-alike medication.

The best way to make sure a mix-up does not happen is to ask your doctor to include the purpose of the medication on the prescription or to tell your pharmacist the reason the medication was prescribed for you. Most medications with look-alike or sound-alike names are not used for the same purpose. Using a series of capital letters to make the dissimilar letters stand out is another way healthcare professionals prevent mix-ups with these look-alike medication names. In the list below, we have used capital letters (called "tall man" letters) for this purpose with the medications that most often employ this strategy.

ISMP's List of Confused Drug Names

Friday, 09 March 2012 17:00

Throw away your old medicines safely

Now is a great time to see if any of your medicines should be discarded because they are too old or no longer needed. On prescription bottles, the label will often tell you when the medicine should be discarded. On over-the-counter medicines and sample medicines, the expiration date (the date it should be discarded) is often printed on the label under "EXP," or stamped without ink into the bottom of a bottle, carton, or the crimp of a tube. For medicines without an expiration date, unless you know you purchased it within the past year, it's best to toss it. As time passes, medicines may lose their effectiveness, especially if they are stored in a medicine cabinet in a warm, moist bathroom. In rare cases, outdated medicines could become toxic. For example, taking expired tetracycline (an antibiotic) can cause serious kidney problems.

In the past, most people flushed old medicines down the toilet. This was done to prevent accidental poisonings of children and animals who may find medicines in the trash. But today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) no longer recommends this. Sewage treatment plants may not be able to clean all medicines out of the water. This may harm fish and wildlife.

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say just three small steps can make a huge difference:

1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications. Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications; however, recent environmental impact studies report that this could be having an adverse impact on the environment. While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Read the instructions on your medication and talk to your pharmacist.

2. When tossing unused medications, protect children and pets from the potentially negative effects. APhA recommends that consumers:

  • Crush solid medications or dissolve them in water (this applies for liquid medications as well) and mix with kitty litter or sawdust (or any material that absorbs the dissolved medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat), then place in a sealed plastic bag BEFORE tossing in the trash.
  • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.
  • Check for approved state and local collection programs or with area hazardous waste facilities. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy.

3. Talk To Your Pharmacist. Research shows that pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals. As the medication experts on the healthcare team, pharmacists are available to guide you on how to properly dispose of your unused medications.

Following these simple steps can help protect your family and community, minimize a potential negative impact on the environment, and prevent the illegal diversion of unused medications.

Additional resource:http://myoldmeds.com/ 

last updated July 23, 2014