Keeping an up-to-date record or list of the medicines you take may help protect you from a mistake. First, it helps you and your family remember all the medicines you are taking. Next, it helps your doctors, nurses, and pharmacists make sure that the medicines prescribed for you can be taken safely together. This list will also be important if you are hospitalized. The healthcare team at the hospital will use your list to determine if the medicine should be continued while you are in the hospital. Finally, your doctor can determine if any illness or symptoms you experience are related to the medicine you take.
To create an up-to-date medicine list, think about the doctors you visit and the medicines each one has prescribed for you. Then, think about your health conditions and the over-the-counter and prescription medicines you take. Remember to list eye and ear drops, ointments and creams, patches, and inhalers. Don’t forget to include any vitamins, supplements, and herbal products you take to stay healthy.
There are a number of steps you can take to prevent errors with medicines. First, write down the answers to the following questions:
- What is the name of your medicine(s)?
- What is the medicine supposed to do?
- How much of the medicine should I take each time?
- How should I take my medication(s) (e.g., with or without meals)?
- If the medicine comes with a device or is packaged with a measuring device, how is it used? If the prescription is filled at your community pharmacy, ask the pharmacist to show you how to use the device properly.
- How many times a day should I take my medicine?
- Should I take my medicine before, during, or after meals?
- How should I store the medicine?
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose of my medicine?
- Are there reactions I should look for and call a doctor or pharmacist about right away?
Next, help your doctors keep you safe by doing the following:
- Keep a list of all medicines that you take —including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products—and bring it with you every time you have an appointment with your doctor. Consider using a small notebook or a smartphone app to track all your medicines and note any changes as soon as possible. Some apps that will help keep track of your medications include MediSafe, Round Health, and Mango Health.
- Discuss any medicines that may have caused problems in the past.
- Discuss any serious or chronic health conditions that were previously diagnosed.
To help organize your medicine list, please consider using the following resources and strategies:
For a PDF version of this form click here.
To download a Word document click here.