Pharmacists: Educate Patients on Medication Poisonings--March 2009
Whereas a majority of medication poisonings are unintentional, pharmacists should counsel patients on ways to avoid this potentially deadly occurrence.
The Indiana Poison Center is advising pharmacists to urge patients to check all the labels in their medicine cabinets to help prevent accidental poisonings.
Barbara Cole, of the center, said, “We get, on average, 200 calls every day.” The center is putting out a warning about prescription drugs. In addition to an expired medication being ineffective, it can be toxic. Cole advised that if the medication has expired to dispose of it.
Health care experts agree that it is not just expired drugs or the ones kept behind the pharmacy counter that are of concern. Clinicians report that many adults poison themselves with drugs that are not expired. “You need to look at labels, because it is possible to take something for colds and then take something else that has the same ingredient,” Cole said.
The labels can pose a problem for some patients because with some drugs it is hard to tell what you are taking. Some will list aspirin as an ingredient, others list it as a form of salicylate. Pharmacists, however, said they are all forms of aspirin.
The center’s warning reinforces the message that patients should seek their pharmacists’ advice on all medicines they plan to take.
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