The online Just Say “Know” to Prescription Drugs initiative is dedicated to helping millions of patients – and the parents of pediatric patients – become mutually-informed partners in decisions about the prescription drugs they take, and by extension in managing their own “health, well being, and quality of life.”
Officially launched by a partnership of concerned organizations at a conference in Washington, DC, on October 7, the global campaign offers patients a beautifully simple tool for self-empowerment: a form you can print out from http://www.psychtruth.org/justsayknowform4.doc
On this Just Say “Know” to Prescription Drugs form, you can:
n List each prescription medication you are taking. For each drug, the form offers spaces for descriptions of: a) Benefits; b) Risks; and c) Alternatives – plus a space for the provider’s signature, under the statement: “I affirm that I have explained the purposes, efficacy, side effects, and alternatives to the medications prescribed.”
n Send or take a copy to your prescribing physician, pharmacist, and/or other healthcare provider.
n Request that the prescribing provider discuss and fill in, for each drug, a description of: a) its benefits; b) associated risks; and c) non-drug alternatives.
n Then ask for each provider’s signature – below the completed descriptions, to acknowledge that they have briefed you on this medication to the best of their ability.
n Keep a copy of the form for future review and updating with any and all caregivers in your healthcare team.
Why become an informed partner? Medication errors – among clinic visitors and patients in hospitals and long-term care settings – harm at least 1.5 million people in the U.S. every year and likely many more, the Institute of Medicine reported in July 2006. By “errors” they mean in prescription, administration, and monitoring of patient response.
If you should be hospitalized, according to the national average, you would be subject to one medication error or “adverse event” for each day of your stay. And when it comes to prescriptions for pediatric patients, parents should be aware that many drugs and their appropriate dosages have not been studied in clinical trials involving children. In such cases, the package insert may say the drug’s safety and effectiveness with children have not been established; and prescriptions for pediatric patients will be “off label.”
For information about the Just Say “Know” to Prescription Drugs initiative’s progress, go to http://www.icspp.org