As a pharmacist, you may understand the importance of keeping an accurate, up-to-date record of medications; however, it seems that few patients keep a medication list with them. Here are a few talking points that may help you convey the importance of this simple task:
- Medication lists help you track and manage all of your medications, including medication allergies. Keep the list updated and bring it to all medical appointments. An out-of-date list can be dangerous, especially if you have had to stop a medication due to an allergy or serious side effect.
- Medication lists help your pharmacist(s) and physician(s) monitor for duplicate therapy, medication interactions, etc. This is especially important if you use multiple pharmacies and/or see multiple prescribers.
- If you are hospitalized or are in an emergency situation and are unable to communicate, personal medication lists are the most complete and accurate source of your medications and how you have been taking them.
- Misunderstandings with and errors in interpreting verbally-communicated medical information are common.
- Creating and maintaining a medication list is easy to do and it may save your life!
Here are a few recommendations for online resources that will help your patients manage their medications:
- MPA and the Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists' That's My Pharmacist website has resources that provide patients with a personal medication chart, as well as a list of conditions and other questions to ask their pharmacist.
- The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation's My Medicine List can be customized to include a logo and distributed to patients by health care professionals. My Medication List is available in Spanish as well.
- The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) houses a great example from the State of Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors available online. This site also provides additional resources and letters to practitioners and patients regarding how to effectively utilize medication lists.
- AARP has great resources for patients online. Patients can download a Microsoft® Word template to create their own medication list or print a version on the site.
- Script Your Future has a variety of guides and worksheets available online, including a pocket medication list, a Spanish language medicine list and one organized by the time of day the patient takes their medications.