Drugs and alcohol Your Health & Wellness

The Five ‘Rights’ Rule for Taking Medications

Written by Emily Shearer

We all know that both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can help keep us healthy. But, it is estimated that 50 percent of people do not comply with their medication regimens. About half of this non-adherence is intentional, because medications are expensive, (some are unaffordable), or they may have side effects that don’t feel good. People also may not understand their medication regimens and are therefore unable to follow them.

The number of medications we take has steadily increased over the past ten years. And, this can lead to harmful mistakes when it comes to taking our daily doses.

How can you make pill-taking safer for yourself and your loved ones at home? Hospital staff and ambulance workers frequently use the Five ‘Rights’ of medication management to help them give medications correctly.

Before taking or giving someone else a medication, you too should follow the Five ‘Rights’ rule to keep you and your loved ones safe at home. Check that these five things are right:

  1. Right person (Is the right person taking the medication?)
  2. Right medication (Is it the right medication?)
  3. Right dose (Is it the recommended dose?)
  4. Right route (Is this medication being taken in the right way? For example, orally?)
  5. Right time (Is this medication being taken at the right time of day? Has the right amount of time elapsed between doses?)

To help ensure the people you love are safe and healthy, make sure you have a list of their medications and follow these other tips. Also, make sure the primary care doctor knows all the drugs they are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter to avoid risky drug interactions.


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