According to a Harvard study, over 107,000 Americans are incorrectly taking their prescription medication, resulting in hospitalization or even death. Patients and consumers need to ensure that they are well educated and aware of the interactions of the drugs they are taking, effects that drugs have on the body, and the potential dangers of mixing prescription drugs with other over the counter medications and supplements. Pharmacists have even provided drugs accidentally to patients prescribed similar medication, as the labeling was misleading or not properly marked. As the availability of medication, both prescribed, and over the counter, continues to expand, you need to be sure you know exactly what you’re taking, and what effect it will have on you.
The FDA is also working to combat any potential medication errors by reviewing all medication error reports, including prescription, generic, and over the counter drug incidences by their Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA). They are working to reduce any issues with medication, the interactions of available drugs, and any issues as a result of consumption. The DMEPA also works to evaluate drug nomenclature and advertising, to ensure that no two drug names are too similar to have the potential of incorrect administration, or consumption. In addition to the above internal actions, the FDA and the DMEPA also encourages consumers to report any issues that they may experience with the consumption of medication. You can take the following steps to report any issues, but such steps should not be performed as a substitute to, or before, contacting proper emergency care:
- Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
- Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178
Staying educated and aware of any potential side effects, issues, and complications with your medication is the first step towards understanding and treating any symptoms you may experience when mixing or consuming medication. To aid you in this learning process the AMA has released a medication safety checklist, which can provide useful guidance when considering what effects medication will have on your life. As always, it is important to stay informed, and aware of any complications. If you experience any side effects or symptoms from a medication you are taking, please contact a medical professional immediately.