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Medication Safety


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Medicine can help us in many ways, but it can also be very dangerous.

To stay safe and healthy, it is important to understand the RIGHT way to take your medicine.

The Five Rights of Medication Safety are five important questions that you can ask yourself every time you take your medicine.

Question 1: Am I the RIGHT person to take this medicine?

Ask yourself if the medicine you are about to take belongs to you.

Medicine can affect people differently, so you should not take medicine that belongs to someone else.

If your doctor prescribed the medicine for you, the package or bottle should have your name on it.

Question 2: Is this the RIGHT medicine for me to take?

Ask yourself if the medicine you are about to take is supposed

  • to help you feel better, or
  • to treat your health condition.

Understanding why you take different medicines will help you to make sure you are taking the right one.

Question 3: Am I taking the RIGHT amount of medicine?

All medications come with directions on the bottle or package.

These directions will tell you how much of the medicine you should take (for example, whether to take one pill or two).

It is important to take the right amount of medicine – if you take too much, or too little, you could get very sick.

Question 4: Am I taking the medicine at the RIGHT time?

The directions that come with your medicine will tell you:

  • How often to take the medicine (for example, once a day, or every 3 hours)
  • If the medicine needs to be taken at a special time, such as with a meal or right before bedtime

Question 5: Am I taking the medicine in the RIGHT way?

Medicines can be taken in different ways:

  • In your mouth
  • In your nose or eyes
  • Rubbed on your skin
  • Injected with a needle

The directions that come with your medicine can tell you how to take your medicine in the right way.

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can also help you.

Know your Rights!

Remembering the Five Rights can help you prevent medication errors, and stay safe and healthy!

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Last updated on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 14:05