National Check Your Meds Day (October 21) is an event sponsored by Consumer Reports, the Department of Health and Human Services, and several state and national professional pharmacy organizations. This is a time to bring your prescription medications and other pills to your pharmacist or physician for a comprehensive review. Many patients have prescriptions from multiple providers and each drug has a different dose and needs to be taken at different times. It can be difficult to keep it all organized. Having a provider review your prescription and non-prescription drugs can be helpful. These reviews are often called “brown-bag reviews” because most individuals will toss all their medications and supplements into a brown bag and take them to their doctor’s office or pharmacy.
Medication reviews can improve patient safety by catching errors made in the prescribing and/or dispensing of the medications. The review also gives providers an opportunity to determine whether the patient still needs each medication or if the dosage should be changed. A review can also catch miscommunication between providers and eliminates duplicate prescriptions. National Check Your Meds Day is particularly important for patients with multiple health conditions taking multiple drugs from several providers.
Specifically, the pharmacist or physician will review the following:
- That your prescription drugs are correct
- That your dosage is correct
- That you are taking the drug correctly
- That the medication has not expired
- Check your supplements, vitamins, and other over-the-counters
- Answer any questions
A regular review of your medications is important, however, between your reviews you may be able to track your prescriptions from home. Many providers offer electronic record systems, such as “My Chart”, that allow you to log in through the internet and update your over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and other supplements. These electronic systems also let you view your prescriptions, send refill requests, and email questions to your provider. When you have multiple health conditions with multiple doctors, these electronic systems are a good way to update your providers when your health status changes or when prescriptions change.
While National Check Your Meds Day occurs on October 21, you don’t have to wait for a national event to have your medications checked. Call your pharmacist or doctor anytime you have questions or need a “brown-bag” medication review.
National Drug Take Back Day (October 27) This event addresses a crucial public safety and health issue. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that most abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from home medicine cabinets.
Following the proper way of getting rid of expired or unwanted medicines can reduce prescription drug abuse and protect children and pets from accidental poisonings. Do not flush them down the toilet, as drugs can pollute the water supply.