Author(s): Colleen Osterhaus, RN, MPH

Date Authored: May 2, 2010

A short video (3 – 5 min, depending on language) about safe use of medications. Taken from a longer video created for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle by Colleen Osterhaus, RN, MPH, this segment illustrates five important points patients need to know about safe medication use: 1) do not share medications; 2) use one pharmacy; 3) keep medications in their original containers; 4) tell primary care provider what medications are and are not taken; and 5) tell about traditional or herbal medications that are being used.

Below are the videos beginning with English, but also in Amharic, Khmer, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese 

Pharmacy Video Script – Medication Safety

There are 5 things we want you to know about medication safety.

  1. First, do not use anybody else’s medications and do not share yours with anyone else.  A medication safe for one person may be harmful to another person.  And remember, keep all medications out of the reach of children.
  2. Second, keep every medication in its original container. Because many medications look similar, mixing them in containers can be confusing, not just for you, but for your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist.
  3. Third, use only one pharmacy so your pharmacist can track your medications. If you use multiple pharmacies your pharmacists will not know all the medications you are taking and you could have serious drug interactions. So, please, tell your doctor which pharmacy you are using.
  4. Fourth, tell your doctor and pharmacist about everything you are or are not taking, even if it is more or less than what your doctor prescribed. 

    Many people forget to take their medications from time to time or have something about their medicines they do not like. Please be open and honest with your doctor about how much of your medicines you take and how you feel about them. Your doctor will not get upset if say you are not taking all your medicines.

    Telling the truth will help your doctor provide you with better care that fits your needs. If you do not tell the doctor what you are or are not taking, the doctor may think the medication is not working and may change or increase the medication dose, which could be harmful to you and may unnecessarily increase the number of pills you take.
  5. Fifth, tell your doctor and pharmacist about any home or traditional remedies, teas, or herbal medicines you use. They can have an effect on your prescribed medications or can affect your health. If necessary, your doctor can make adjustments to your medications.