It is estimated that over 1.5 million Americans are harmed and several thousand killed by medication-related errors every year that can occur in the home, at the hospital, clinic, pharmacy, surgical center or nursing home.  Despite the prevalence of this problem, there are some ways to safe-guard yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to medication errors.

List of Medications

Compile a list of all the medications you are taking and bring it along when you see your doctor. If there isn't enough time to make a list like this, bringing all of your medications with you is the next best thing.


Your weight can determine your dosage for certain medications. Make sure your physician weighs you every time you're at the doctor's office. If your weight has changed, don't hesitate to ask your doctor if any of your present medications' dosages should be changed according to your weight loss or gain.

Organ Function/Age

Sometimes, the functionality of your liver and kidneys can dictate the dosages for your medications. Ask your physician if your medications need to be adjusted according to the function of your kidneys and liver. In addition, your age can be a big factor - you may wish to bring that up with the physician as well.

Interacting Medications

Ask your doctor if any of your medications could be interacting in such a way that it negatively affects your health. For example, dietary products may reduce the effectiveness of some of your medications.


Make sure your doctor tells you about any drugs that you absolutely have to avoid and remember to tell your doctor of any allergies you may have, as these may dictate what drugs you should be avoiding.

Multiple Names

It may be helpful to ask your doctor about any other names that are used for the medications you're taking. These can include generic or brand name alternatives.

Child Care

If your children require medication from a hospital, asking whether their medications are adjusted according to height and weight is a good idea. Learning what side-effects those medications could potentially cause may also be helpful. If the child is staying at a hospital, find out if there is a pediatric pharmacy that will be overseeing your child's medications.

Mixing Medications/Schedule

Though it may be more convenient, never mix different medications in a single pill bottle. The odds increase greatly of mixing up the medications when this is the case. Also, it may be helpful to make yourself a schedule so you always take your medications when you need to.