Staying Medication Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic Response

During this time of nationwide concern and response to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Safest Drug is urging the general public to be even more cautious about how to lower their risk of experiencing a serious adverse drug reaction that may result in a temporary or permanent medication harm, including what to do if you experience a suspected or confirmed adverse drug reaction. 

The following are suggested actions anyone can take to be “medication safe”:

  1. Read every drug label. Know exactly how to take your medication and make sure, once you receive a medication from your pharmacy, it is the same medication your healthcare provider prescribed. Speak up and ask questions if you have any, or are concerned about possible adverse effects. 
  2. Access DailyMed for FDA-approved drug safety information, like Medication Guides, to know exactly what the FDA is considering to be the latest known safety risks and warnings. Do this before you take that first dose. 
  3. Keep in mind that there are known and unknown safety risks to just about every medication. So, if you experience something concerning but don’t see it listed as a potential side effect or adverse effect, do not assume that your issue is not related to the medication. You may have experienced a new drug safety issue that absolutely needs to be reported to the FDA. 
  4. Always report your concerning drug safety issues to the FDA, especially if you’ve visited an emergency room, urgent care or have been hospitalized as a result. You can access information about how to report by visiting their FDA MedWatch page. To call the FDA (if you prefer to speak with a “live” person), call 1-800-332-1088.
  5. Be mindful of all medications stored at your home. To avoid any accidental or intentional medication overdoses, make sure all medications (over-the-counter and prescription drugs) are not within reach of children and teens. Avoid flushing your medication and try not to throw the medication in the trash (this can be an access point for children, teens and even pets). Find the nearest drug disposal location near you, but call first to make sure the location is open and currently accepting unwanted or expired pharmaceutical drug products.

With more than 2 million adverse drug event reports received by the FDA in 2019, the need to detect, report and monitor medication-related illness, disability and death must remain a priority.