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Keeping track of your medications may not be a priority on your “to-do” list, but failure to properly monitor and take your medications can have serious health consequences. Adverse drug reactions due to medication mistakes are a frequent cause of emergency room visits and hospital stays.
Do you know what medications you take? Do you have a list? Does your list match the labels on your prescription bottles at home? These are questions I ask patients every day in my practice.
It is often difficult for both physicians and patients to keep track of medications. They may be prescribed at different times by different physicians. Insurance companies may suggest alternatives. Sometimes, new medications are prescribed between office visits. Hospitalization often results in medication changes, adding to the potential for confusion.
There is no “best way” to keep track of medications. However, a few common-sense recommendations will go a long way toward ensuring safe medication use. Try these easy-to-swallow suggestions:
Your physician should review your medication list on a regular basis to try to reduce the dosage or eliminate medications that may no longer be necessary. Healthy lifestyle modification sustained over time can result in diminished requirements for some drugs. The fewer medications you have to take, the less likelihood of a mistake.