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AMA Celebrates 2010 National Patient Safety Awareness Week

For immediate release:
March 8, 2010

Chicago, Ill. – To help mark the importance of National Patient Safety Awareness Week (NPSAW) the American Medical Association (AMA) is focusing on medication safety with its annual "Know What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet" reminder and a new online resource for patients to help facilitate open conversation with physicians about medications.

"Medical safety starts at home," said AMA Board Member Edward Langston, M.D. "Patients play an important role in keeping their families safe by making sure prescription drugs in the home are up to date and out of reach of children. The AMA is encouraging everyone to use National Patient Safety Awareness Week as an appropriate time for an annual check-up and clean-out of the medicine cabinet. Proper disposal of expired or unused prescription medications helps keep families safe, and disposal information is available on the AMA Web site at www.ama-assn.org/go/patientsafety."

The theme of this year’s national NPSAW is "Let's Talk: Healthy Conversations for Safer Healthcare", and AMA has a new resource on its Web site for patients to help them talk with their physician about their medications. Some of the tips on the sheet include telling your doctor about vitamins and drugs bought without a prescription and sharing any home remedies used. The AMA encourages patients to talk to their physician if they have any questions about their medicine, including side effects and how to take the medicine correctly.

"Over 89 million American adults have limited health literacy skills, and these common sense tips can help empower patients to talk freely with their physician about their medications," said Dr. Langston. "Knowing all the medications a patient is on can help prevent errors, so it’s critical that patients talk freely with their physician about their medication questions."

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Media contact:
Katherine Hatwell
American Medical Association
202-789-7419
katherine.hatwell@ama-assn.org

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