Here's a list of ideas for participating in the 20th annual “Talk About Prescriptions” Month, the only national health observance promoting the safe and effective use of medicines. This year's theme is "The 3Rs for Safe Medicine Use." Planning and promotional materials provided by the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) make it easy for you to participate actively in “Talk About Prescriptions” Month in October—and to continue with your medication communication and safety activities year-round. So don’t stop on October 31st. Medicines are used to preserve health and independence every day of the year. So continue your medication communication activities year-round.
- Distribute “Talk About Prescriptions” Month messages and materials to your colleagues, affiliates, chapters, customers or professional societies so they can start planning too.
- Distribute the posters, "The 3Rs" and "Your Medicine Information is Important: Read It & Heed It." Display them in every pharmacy, hospital, medical/dental facility, library, community center, school and retail store in your community.
- Place “Talk About Prescriptions” Month articles in your organization's newsletters and magazines. Articles in the planning guide can easily be adapted for local newspapers and newsletters.
- Organize a "Brown Bag" medicine review program in your community. This program invites patients to bring all their medicines in a bag and discusses them with the health care professional. Patients are advised if medicines are out-of-date, and which medicines, if used in combination or incorrectly, can cause harmful interactions.
- Distribute copies of "Your Medicine: Play It Safe," and "Get the Most from Your Medicines: Managing Side Effects." They're ideal for health fairs, health screenings, worksites, schools, etc. Be sure to hand them out to your patients and customers as well.
- Set up a "3Rs for Safe Medicine Use" information booth in shopping malls during October. Health professional students can discuss general medicine use issues with consumers and distribute brochures, lapel badges and posters.
- Adapt NCPIE's "31 Medicine Moments" radio scripts and distribute them to every radio station in your community. Each of the 31 "Medicine Moments" can be "tagged" with your organizational name as a co-sponsor along with the radio station, creating visibility for you.
- Contact local television health and science reporters. Ask them to air stories about the safe and effective use of prescription medicines in October and beyond. Use the “Talk About Prescriptions” Month planning guide for story ideas. Offer to provide on-air experts.
- Organize a medicine information and education display in local libraries and your own facility. Use educational materials available from NCPIE as part of the display and as handouts.
- Encourage local merchants to announce the date (October) and theme ("The 3Rs for Safe Medicine Use,") on their marquees, in-store broadcast systems, electronic signs and cash register receipts.
- Arrange for health care professionals to visit classrooms, nursing homes, senior centers and fraternal organizations. Consumers of all ages can benefit from discussions about how to use medicines safely and effectively.
- Promote your activities. Assume that if your don't share what you've done, you haven't done it. Send information about your ongoing or special “Talk About Prescriptions” Month activities to: NCPIE, 200-A Monroe Street, Suite 212, Rockville, MD 20850-4448 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Remember the 3Rs for Safe Medicine Use
Risk - Recognize that all medicines (prescription and nonprescription) have risks as well as benefits; know your medicine's risks and benefits; if you're not sure—talk to your healthcare providers.
Respect - Respect the power of your medicine and the value of medicines properly used;
Responsibility - take responsibility for learning about how to take each medicine safely. Being responsible also means following this important rule: when in doubt, ask first. Your pharmacist, doctor, PA, nurse, or other healthcare professional can help you get the facts you need to use medicines correctly. Here's what to ask:
- The name of the medicine and what is it supposed to do;
- How to take the medicine and for how long;
- What foods drinks, other medications, or activities to avoid while taking the medicine;
- If there are any side effects and what to do if they occur;
- If there is any written information about the medicine;
- If any new prescription will work safely with other prescription and nonprescription medicines being taken.