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Reporting a Medication Error

60 seconds Safety Tip: Pharmacists can help you use medicines safely

Have you ever picked up a prescription or over-the-counter medicine (OTC) from your local pharmacy and realized, once you are home and ready to take the medicine, that you have questions about it? Of course, you can call your local pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist. But did you know that you can also call 1-855-543-3784 or email druginfo@fda.hhs.gov to ask a pharmacist at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) questions about your medicines?

FDA’s Division of Drug Information (DDI) has a number of pharmacists who respond each day to hundreds of calls and emails from consumers who have questions about their medicines. They can help identify tablets or capsules, discuss side effects, and even tell you the best way to dispose of unused or expired medicines.

It is important to tell the pharmacist, whether it is your local pharmacist or a pharmacist at the FDA, about other medicines you take, including prescription and OTC medicines as well as vitamins and supplements. That way, the pharmacist can determine if there may be any interactions with taking the medicines together. Your pharmacist should also know your:

• Medical history, including the reason you are taking each medicine

• Any allergies you may have

• If you are pregnant or breastfeeding

• If you have trouble swallowing tablets, opening bottles, reading labels, or remembering to take your medicine

Pharmacists play an important role in providing consumers with information about medicines so that they are used accurately and safely. It is a good idea to use a single pharmacy for all of your prescription and OTC medicines, so your pharmacist can identify any interactions. Please do not hesitate to pick up the phone or send an email to your local pharmacist or an FDA pharmacist when you have questions about your medicine.

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