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How to Avoid Mixing Up Your Daily Medications

How to Avoid Mixing Up Your Daily Medications

In Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, when Igor (Marty Feldman) steals a brain for Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), there’s a mix-up and the doc gets a brain from someone named Abbey. Abbey Normal. When Dr. Frankenstein realizes he’s placed an abnormal brain into his seven-foot tall creation, the mix-up sets up one of the funniest films of all time.

Mixing up brains may make for hilarious comedy, but when it comes to your meds, don’t make mistakes that can mix up your brain or worse.  

A study found that people are making more mistakes with their meds than they used to and they’re paying a price. Cases of reported medication errors more than doubled from 3,065 in 2000 to 6,855 in 2012. Over 400 people died from those mistakes. The most common medicinal mix-ups that caused serious health problems were with cardiovascular drugs and painkillers such as aspirin and acetaminophen. Most common mistakes: Taking the wrong dose; the wrong drug; or a double dose.

Getting your meds in order
Eighty-seven percent of Americans 65 or older average four different meds daily! To make sure you get your dosing right, try:

  • Reading dosage instructions on Rx bottles carefully.
  • Making sure each medication is labeled if you move your meds from an Rx bottle to a pillbox.

If you need help organizing your medications, ask your doc, neighbor or family member for help. 

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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