Did you know that today is World Health Day (brought to you by the World Health Organization)?! I feel like every day is health day really, because I strive to live a healthy lifestyle. However, there’s something so special about banding together with other like-minded people from around the world to celebrate a necessity and passion: health.
My most recent blog post was about World Bipolar Day (clearly I love world events!). In that post, I shared a guide of what steps to take after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder/a mental health condition. I talked about the medications I take and how they help me live a healthier, more stable life; but I didn’t mention anything about the steps to take when first being prescribed a medication. That in itself is a completely different topic.
I collaborated with the American Recall Center, a site devoted to drug, medical device recalls and FDA warning updates to inform you about medication safety. Their vision is: “To give pertinent information on FDA warnings for prescription drugs and medical devices. Through our extensive library of recalls and medical information, and our experienced editorial team, it is our mission to empower those who have been adversely affected.” If you are looking for someone to educate, trust, empower, and be an advocate for you, hop on over to their website for more details!
A Few Facts:
- Clinicians have access to an armamentarium of more than 10,000 prescription medications, and nearly one-third of adults in the United States take 5 or more medications.
- An adverse drug event (ADE) is defined as harm experienced by a patient as a result of exposure to a medication, and ADEs account for nearly 700,000 emergency department visits and 100,000 hospitalizations each year.
- ADEs affect nearly 5% of hospitalized patients, making them one of the most common types of inpatient errors; ambulatory patients may experience ADEs at even higher rates.
- Transitions in care are also a well-documented source of preventable harm related to medications.
- *Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (website)
An adverse drug event is not always due to misuse of the medication by the patient; it can happen because a doctor prescribed the wrong medication, the pharmacist filled the wrong medication, or side effects of the medication. It gets really tricky managing medications when there are SO many different ones out there! Plus, there are an unnerving amount with very similar names.
“An 8-year-old died, it was suspected, after receiving methadone (a synthetic opiate) instead of methylphenidate, a drug used to treat attention deficit disorders” (source).
It’s incredibly crucial to educate ourselves on the medications we are prescribed/taking. Doctor visits can be quick and confusing, making it easy for us to forget any questions we may have. I have definitely been there (I’ve taken almost all the anti-depressants and anti-psychotic prescriptions on the market), so I’ve created a checklist for you to use at your next appointment!
I invite you to save and print this image. Use it at doctor visits, pharmacy stops, or whenever you feel it would be helpful. I hope having a checklist will help you as much as it has helped me!
Remember to be proactive and cautious when taking any medications. Set reminders on your phone if you have trouble remembering to take them (like me)! I hope you celebrate World Health Day by making decisions to better your health and reminding yourself of how awesome you are!
How are you celebrating World Health Day?
Have you ever used a checklist for a doctor visit? If not, would you find it helpful?
Thank you so much for reading!