Cutting Down on Medication Mistakes

New brochure includes pocket-sized medicine record

MONDAY, May 12, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new brochure meant to reduce prescription medication errors is being offered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the National Council on Patient Information and Education.

Your Medicine: Play It Safe is a 12-page brochure, available in English and Spanish, that includes a detachable, pocket-sized medicine record that you can personalize.

Medication errors can occur when a person receives the wrong medicine, takes an incorrect dose, takes their medicine at the wrong time or inappropriately combines prescription, non-prescription, and/or other medicines, food or beverages.

The new brochure outlines four steps that help you safely use prescription medicines:

  • Provide your health-care team with all your important medical information.
  • Get all the facts about your medicine.
  • Stay with your treatment plan.
  • Keep a record of all your medicines.

An AHRQ-supported study released in March found that more than 1.9 million medication errors occurred among Medicare patients from 1999-2000. More than a quarter of those errors were preventable.

Most of those preventable errors occurred at the prescribing and monitoring stages, and problems with patient adherence to prescription information contributed to errors in more than 20 percent of cases, the study found.

Single copies of the brochure are available by phoning the AHRQ at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an e-mail to

The guide is also available at the AHRQ Web site in English and in Spanish.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about your medicines.

Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt

Published on May 12, 2003

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