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Medications

Know Your Medications

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Safe Medication Care Starts With You!

You know the best what medications you take and how you take them.

If you take medications, you play a role in your healthcare when it comes to medication safety. Keep an up-to-date list of all the medications you take and carry it with you. Medication, or medicine, doesn’t just mean t​he prescriptions you take (see below, “Do you just need to know what prescriptions I take?”). Your medication list speaks for you in case you can’t, or if you don’t always remember all the medications you take.

Sharing your updated list every time you see your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider helps them give you the best care possible. It could even prevent a dangerous medication situation.

Doesn’t my doctor know what I’m taking?

That’s a good question. The problem is that you may have seen more than one healthcare provider, gone to more than one pharmacy to have a prescription filled, or may not be taking the medicine the way it was prescribed.

Your healthcare team also works to keep a correct and up-to-date list and tries to make sure other people caring for you also know. But, if we don’t know everything that you take, something could be missed — like a medication that is very important to your health or one medication not working well with another.

Do you just need to know what prescriptions I take?​

Medications are more than just those that a doctor prescribes.

They include a long list of the ones that you buy “over the counter”, such as pain killers, cold medicines, laxatives, vitamins, minerals, homeopathic, natural, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs, patches, inhalers, eye/ear/nose drops, creams, lotions, ointments, and even samples that the doctor may give you.​

What do I need to know and share about the medication I take?

When you meet with your healthcare provider, or go to a healthcare centre, tell them:

  • the names of all the medication you take
  • how you take the medication (for example, time of day, dose (amount), and how often)

There are many ways you can keep track of the medication you take, from a list in your wallet or purse, to something you keep on your mobile device. We have included some Medication Tracking Tools to help you.

Current as of: August 19, 2016

Author: Medication Quality and Safety Team – Pharmacy Services, Alberta Health Services