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Medicine Safety

Your Pharmacist: Frequently Asked Questions

This document answers pharmacist related questions about medications. Topics cover medicines storage, expiration date on prescription medication, prescription medicine dosage, and more.

Review Date: February 07, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

6 Tip-offs to Rip-offs: Don't Fall for Health Fraud Scams

Health fraud scams can do more than waste your money. They can cause serious injury or even death. Follow these simple tips to protect yourself against fraudulent health products.

Review Date: March 04, 2013

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Avoiding Drug Interactions

The three main types of drug interactions include drugs with food and beverages, drugs with dietary supplements, and drugs with other drugs. This document provides tips on how to avoid harmful drug interactions. Also available in video.

Review Date: March 13, 2013

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Be Smart about Prescription Drug Advertising: A Guide for Consumers

Prescription drug advertisements can provide useful information for consumers to work with their health care providers to make wise decisions about treatment. Learn about correct and incorrect versions of different types of drug ads.

Review Date: March 15, 2013

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy

FDA BeSafeRx is a national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of buying prescription medicines from fake online pharmacies.This site offers tips on identifying these pharmacies, as well as resources for finding safe and reliable online pharmacies.

Review Date: September 28, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Board of Pharmacy Contacts

If you have questions or concerns about your experience at a pharmacy or with a pharmacist, contact your state board of pharmacy for assistance. Contact information for each board is available in the Boards of Pharmacy section of this Web site.

Review Date: November 05, 2012

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

Brochure on Safe Medication Use- (PDF)

While medications can help keep you healthy, they also can cause serious problems when used incorrectly. A large percentage of adults are taking too many medications, not taking their medications properly, or both. Discover how your local pharmacists can help you take your medications safely.

Review Date: January 27, 2012

Institute for Safe Medication Practices

Buying Prescription Medicine Online: A Consumer Safety Guide

The growth of the Internet has made it possible to compare prices and buy products without ever leaving home. But when it comes to buying medicine online, it is important to be very careful.

Review Date: March 15, 2013

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Caregivers' Guide to Medications and Aging

For older adults and people with disabilities, medications and herbal remedies/alternative medicine can be a double-edged sword. When not taken correctly, medications can have devastating consequences.

Review Date: May 28, 2014

Family Caregiver Alliance

Chronic Pain Medicines

Learn how to take pain medications, such as Acetaminophen and narcotics, safely and effectively. If you have questions about side effects or about how much medicine to take, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Review Date: December 15, 2014

American Academy of Family Physicians

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs

Consumer Reports Health Best Buy Drugs™ is a public education project of Consumers Union. It will help you talk to your doctor about prescription drugs, and find the most effective and safe drugs that also give you the best value for your health care dollar.

Review Date: October 30, 2014

Consumers Union

Coumadin and Vitamin K- (PDF)

The food you eat can affect how your medicine works. Learn about the interaction between Coumadin and vitamin K.

Review Date: January 29, 2013

NIH Office of Dietary Supplements - ODS

DailyMed: Current Medication Information

DailyMed provides high quality information about marketed drugs. Search for and download easy-to-read FDA package inserts to learn more about your medications.

Review Date: August 27, 2010

NIH National Library of Medicine - NLM

Drug Allergy

Learn to recognize the symptoms of a drug allergy and factors that can increase your risk of an allergic reaction.

Review Date: November 13, 2014

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Drug Interactions: What You Should Know

If you take several different medicines, see more than one doctor, or have certain health conditions, you and your doctors need to be aware of all the medicines you take.

Review Date: October 12, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

DrugDigest

Learn about drugs, vitamins, and herbs, and how the drugs you take compare with others. Check interactions between two or more drugs and get detailed information regarding potentially harmful drug interactions.

Review Date: December 01, 2014

Commercial Entity--Follow the Resource URL for More Information

Drugs@FDA

Search this catalog of FDA approved drug products for information on approved and tentatively approved prescription, generic, over-the-counter, and discontinued drugs. Drug Approval Reports are also provided.

Review Date: December 20, 2012

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Expiration Dates Matter (Video)

If your medicine has expired, it may not provide the treatment you need. This FDA video explains how expiration dates help determine if medicine is safe to use and will work as intended.

Review Date: June 29, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Facts About Generic Drugs- (PDF)

A generic drug is a copy of a brand name drug. Generic drugs use the same substances and work the same way in the body as brand name drugs. The FDA requires that both generic and brand name drugs be safe and effective.

Review Date: July 11, 2014

FDA Office of Women’s Health

Find a Compounding Pharmacy

Search for compounding pharmacies that are accredited by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board.

Review Date: July 11, 2011

Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board

Getting High on Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs Is Dangerous- (PDF)

This document explains to parents the dangers of teenagers abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Includes warning signs that your child may be using prescription or OTC drugs to get high.

Review Date: April 11, 2012

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - SAMHSA
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Got a Sick Kid? Don’t Guess. Read the Label.

When it comes to taking medicines, kids aren’t just small adults. When using nonprescription medicines, here are 10 ways to be sure you’re giving your children the right medicine and the right amount.

Review Date: July 18, 2011

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Grapefruit Juice and Medicine May Not Mix

Grapefruit juice can be part of a healthful diet but it isn’t good for you when it affects the way your medicines work.

Review Date: December 04, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicine

You’ve probably seen this warning on medicines you’ve taken. The danger is real. Mixing alcohol with certain medications can cause nausea and vomiting, fainting, loss of coordination, and other physical, and potentially life-threatening, problems.

Review Date: February 11, 2013

NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - NIAAA

How to Administer Medications

This site provides graphical illustrations on how to safely administer eye, ear, and nose drops, inhalers, and suppositories.

Review Date: October 26, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

How to Dispose of Unused Medicines- (PDF)

Is your medicine cabinet filled with expired drugs or medications you no longer use? Use these methods to safely dispose of them.

Review Date: March 17, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Kids and Medicine Safety (Video)

This video provides parents with tips on safe dosing, including reading the drug facts label, choosing medications that only treat a child’s specific symptoms and not giving medications for longer or more often than recommended.

Review Date: October 16, 2012

Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Kids Aren't Just Small Adults- (PDF)

Find ten useful tips on giving medicine safely to infants and children.

Review Date: October 16, 2012

Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Know Active Ingredients in Children's Medicines

If your child is taking more than one medication at the same time, there could be dangerous health consequences if those medicines have the same active ingredient. Find out why it is necessary to check the list of active ingredients and consult with your health provider or pharmacist.

Review Date: March 12, 2013

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Medication Safety: Take an Active Role (Video)

To keep from taking the wrong amount or type of medicine, take an active role in your health care.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Medicines In My Home- (PDF)

Learn about the drug facts label, how to measure liquid medicine, tips for using medicine safely, and more.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Multi-Media Consumer Information - FDA

FDA offers information about food, drug, and product safety in many useful formats, including videos, photo slideshows, podcasts and audio.

Review Date: December 18, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Multiple Medications: Will They Work Together? (Quiz Yourself )

Anytime a person is taking five or more medications, the chances that he or she will experience a harmful drug interaction are very high. Learn how you can lessen the chance of a harmful drug interaction.

Review Date: June 27, 2012

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

My Medicine List

“My Medicine List™” can help you keep track of everything you take to keep you healthy, including pills, vitamins, and herbs. Having a list of all your medicines in one place also helps your doctor, pharmacist, hospital, or other healthcare workers take better care of you.

Review Date: February 07, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was established to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines.

Review Date: January 31, 2013

Healthcare Systems Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration

Possible Fracture Risk With Osteoporosis Drugs- (PDF)

If you are taking drugs known as bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis, learn about a possible risk of a rare type of thigh bone (femoral) fracture issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Review Date: October 06, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Possible Interactions with Vitamin D

Learn more about the potentially dangerous interactions between your medications and Vitamin D.

Review Date: January 29, 2013

Educational Institution--Follow the Resource URL for More Information

Pregnancy, Nursing and the Safe Use of OTC Medicines (Video)

This brief video provides pregnant and nursing mothers with tips on using over-the-counter medicines safely. The tips include advice on treating common ailments experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, heartburn, nausea, colds and allergies.

Review Date: October 16, 2012

Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Prescription Painkiller Overdoses: Use and Abuse of Methadone as a Painkiller

More than 30% of prescription painkiller deaths involve methadone, even though only 2% of painkiller prescriptions are for this drug. Find out what you can do to prevent the misuse of Methadone.

Review Date: July 05, 2012

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control - NCIPC
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts - FDA

Find FDA alerts on food, drugs, animal health, biologics and medical devices and significant product actions over the last five years based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk.

Review Date: November 08, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Safety Reporting Portal

Use the Safety Reporting Portal to submit complaints or concerns about FDA-regulated drugs, foods (including animal feed, pet food, and pet treats) and animal drugs, as well as adverse events occurring on human gene transfer trials.

Review Date: November 05, 2012

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Take Your Medicines Safely (Video)

Recent studies show that nearly 2/3 of all visits to the doctor's office end with a prescription for medication. When a doctor gives you a prescription, be sure that you understand the purpose of the medication, how and when to take it, possible side effects, and more.

Review Date: February 07, 2012

National Institutes of Health - NIH
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Special Risks of Pharmacy Compounding

Learn why pharmacy compounding can be unsafe.

Review Date: October 24, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Tips for Talking with Your Pharmacist to Learn How to Use Medicines Safely

Your pharmacist can help you learn how to use your prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines safely. Make sure you inform your pharmacist about all the prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, herbals, and other supplements you use.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Use Caution with Pain Relievers

The Food and Drug Administration warns consumers that all over-the-counter pain relievers should be taken with care to avoid serious problems that can occur with misuse.

Review Date: May 27, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What Are the Risks? Dangers of Buying Medicines from a Rogue Web Site

Prescription medicines are powerful and if they are not dispensed by a trustworthy provider there could be a number of harmful results. Here are 5 important points to consider when buying medicines online.

Review Date: November 06, 2012

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

What's Your AQ? (Acetaminophen Safe Use Quiz)- (PDF)

This acetaminophen quiz is geared toward college students. Test your knowledge by completing the brief survey. Check true or false to see how much you know. Then see if you’ve answered correctly.

Review Date: May 01, 2012

National Council on Patient Information and Education

When You Are Prescribed an Off-Label Medicine: What You Need to Know- (PDF)

Are off-label drugs safe? Explore this question, and other related questions noted in this article about drug safety, with your doctor.

Review Date: March 12, 2013

National Council on Patient Information and Education

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