By: Heather Michon |

Quick read:

With more Americans taking multiple prescription drugs, it’s important to keep in mind the potential risks for negative interactions of different medications. Always be sure to let your medical team know what medications you’re on and if you’ve experienced adverse effects from them in the past.

Full story:

Almost fifty percent (50%) of Americans now take at least one prescription drug and nearly twelve percent (12%) regularly take five or more. According to the Centers for Disease Control, physicians order 3.2 billion prescriptions for their patients each year. An estimated sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans take dietary supplements, and most take over-the-counter medications for any number of minor discomforts.

The ideal promise of any drug or supplement is to allow a person to live a healthier, more productive life, but there can be serious risks to taking multiple medications, whether they’re taken orally or administered using intravenous (IV) therapy.

Adverse drug events (ADEs) are responsible for more than 1 million emergency room visits a year and more than 280,000 hospital admissions.

Medication safety is also an issue during hospital stays. Hospitals today follow the Rights of Medication Administration, a checklist of between 8-10 steps nurses use to make sure patients are receiving proper care:

  • Right medicine
  • Right dose
  • Right patient
  • Right time
  • Right route
  • Right documentation
  • Right reason
  • Right response

Patients also have a role in making sure they’re on the right path. Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of negative drug interactions during your hospital stay:

  • Keep an updated list of all your current prescriptions, supplements, and frequently-used OTC drugs and share it with your doctor and nurses upon admission.
  • Unless your doctor has specifically asked you to do so, don’t bring your medications from home. If you have been asked to bring them, let your nurses know you’re taking them.
  • Tell your nursing team about any adverse effects you’ve had to medications in the past.
  • Ask your nurse what each medication is for before it’s administered, and check that containers, syringes, tubes, bags, and bottles are labeled with your name.
  • Keep a list of medications you receive and the times they are administered.
  • Speak up! Don’t be afraid to question your medical team about what you’re being given, what they do, when they’re supposed to be given, how they might interact with other medications, and what side effects you should look out for.

 

 

 

References:

Medication Safety During Your Hospital Stay – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000501.htm

Therapeutic Drug Use – https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-therapeutic.htm

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