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Safety When You’re Taking a Known Hazard Medicine

Taking the medicine

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How do I take or how would a caregiver give me a known hazard medicine safely?

Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after taking a known hazard medicine.

Caregivers should never touch the known hazard medicine with their bare hands. They should always wear gloves, and wash their hands before and after​ handling the medicine.

If your medicine is damaged—for example, a broken pill (or powder found in the medicine container), leaking liquid, or a cloudy injection—talk to your pharmacist before taking it.

Taking a pill​

Don’t chew, crush, dissolve, break, or open pills (tablet or capsule) unless your pharmacist tells you to. To take a known hazard pill by mouth:

  1. Pour the pill into a cup (disposable, if possible) or into the cap of the medicine bottle. Try not to touch the medicine with your bare hands.
  2. Tip the cup into your mouth and swallow the pill with a liquid.
  3. If you’re using a non-disposable cup, wash the cup with soap and water after using it.

Taking a liquid medicine

To take a liquid known hazard medicine by mouth or through a feeding tube, use the pre-filled oral syringe (if your pharmacist gave you one).

If your medicine isn’t in a pre-filled oral syringe, use an oral syringe from your pharmacist to measure out 1 dose. Ask your pharmacist how to clean the syringe after using it.

Taking the medicine other ways

To take a known hazard medicine by an injection (with a needle), follow the instructions from your healthcare provider.

To apply a known hazard medicine as a cream, gel, or ointment, wear gloves and follow the instructions from your healthcare provider.


Current as of: March 31, 2022

Author: Provincial Hazardous Medication Committee, Alberta Health Services