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Last Updated
October 23, 2014

“Talk About Prescriptions” Month
October 2011

“COLLABORATION IS THE KEY FOR MEDICINE SAFETY”

Our Theme
What's New for "TAP" Month 2011
Collaboration & Getting the Message Out About the Safe Use of Acetaminophen
Previous "TAP" Observances (on-line)

Our Theme

This October marks NCPIE’s 26th annual “Talk About Prescriptions Month” (TAP Month). This year, our theme for “TAP” Month is "Collaboration is the Key for Medicine Safety.

Why would the NCPIE coalition choose to focus on “collaboration” when our members’ shared mission is to stimulate and improve communication to promote safe medicine use?
It’s simple:

  • Collaboration embodies NCPIE’s vision of the Medicine Education Team – a framework for healthcare provider-patient medicine communication improvement that NCPIE first espoused during the first TAP Month in 1986.

    NCPIE’s reason for sponsoring the nation's only annual health observance focusing exclusively on promoting safe medicine use through quality medicine communication is that “Talk About Prescriptions” Month serves as a means of ensuring that the safe and appropriate use of medicine remains part of the national public health dialogue. Given the estimated 4 billion prescriptions dispensed annually in the retail setting alone, the value of high-quality medicine communication, supported by the provision of useful written medicine information cannot be overstated.
  • Collaboration describes patient care as we move forward. Developing medical models intimately involve multidisciplinary healthcare teams, as prescribers, pharmacists, nurses, mental healthcare providers, engage with patients and their caregivers.
  • Collaboration defines how NCPIE works:
  • Collaboration extends the reach to American consumers to promote better medicine adherence. NCPIE is pleased to be a participant of Script Your Future a national public awareness campaign designed to help consumers manage health problems such as diabetes, COPD, asthma, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • NCPIE is Collaborating to Reduce Medication Errors with The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP) NCCMERP is an independent body comprised of 27 leading national health care organizations collaborating and cooperating to address the interdisciplinary causes of errors and to promote the safe use of medications. The mission of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP) is to maximize the safe use of medications and to increase awareness of medication errors through open communication, increased reporting and promotion of medication error prevention strategies.

    Click here for a list of NCCMERP Recommendations

What’s New for “TAP” Month 2011

During this year's "Talk About Prescriptions" Month — and beyond — NCPIE is pleased to introduce new educational messaging focusing on the safe use of acetaminophen, the most common drug ingredient in America. Ensuring safe use of acetaminophen provides a great example of how Collaboration is the Key for Medicine Safety, considering that acetaminophen is found in more than 600 different medicines – both prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers, fever reducers, and sleep aids as well as cough, cold, and allergy medicines.

NCPIE Acetaminophen Safe Use Modules
NCPIE has developed customized Acetaminophen Safe Use Modules for inclusion on its three web sites and two stand-alone web-based programs: www.talkaboutrx.org, www.bemedwise.org, www.mustforseniors.org; The Teen Influencer workshop program, and the College Resource Kit- which both reside on www.talkaboutrx.org. Support for this project was provided by McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc.

When used as directed, acetaminophen is safe and effective. But there is a limit to how much you can take in one day. Taking more acetaminophen than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage and even death. Liver injury from acetaminophen overdose remains a serious public health problem despite ongoing regulatory and educational efforts over the past several years to improve the safe use of medicines that contain acetaminophen. Patients can take too much if they take more than the labeled dose of one acetaminophen medicine, or if they take more than one medicine containing acetaminophen (for example, an over-the-counter [OTC] medicine that contains acetaminophen with a prescription medicine that contains acetaminophen).

To prevent acetaminophen overdose, consumers need to be able to read labels and recognize when their medicines contain acetaminophen. The active ingredients in OTC medicines are clearly listed on the label, but the container labels on prescription medicines that contain acetaminophen may not clearly identify acetaminophen as an active ingredient. Collaborative efforts are now underway to address this problem

Is there any more compelling reason for healthcare providers, patients, caregivers, families, and communities to talk about prescriptions (and OTCs)? We can all agree that Collaboration is the Key for Medicine Safety.

Collaboration & Getting the Message Out About the Safe Use of Acetaminophen
Here's What You Can Do

Getting the word out across the United States about safe use of acetaminophen-containing products is a big job, and there is an opportunity for everyone to get involved. NCPIE is pleased to share information that it has developed to promote the safe use of acetaminophen (below) and to be a partner in the Acetaminophen Awareness Campaign, sponsors of the KNOW YOUR DOSE Campaign (below).

By following the Resource Links below, you'll find all the information you'll need to inform local media outlets, your members, customers, family and friends about safe use of acetaminophen-containing products.

Resources You Can Use

Collaboration in Action:
Promoting Safe Use of Acetaminophen for Older Adults and Caregivers

NCPIE recently brought together the following organizations to collaborate on the development of a special educational section on acetaminophen safe use for its Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors web site:

  • AARP
  • Administration on Aging
  • Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Alliance for Aging Research
  • American Pain Foundation
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • HHS/ Office of WomenˇŻs Health
  • National Alliance for Hispanic Health
  • National Alliance for Caregiving
  • National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
  • National Council on Aging (NCOA)
  • The Gerontological Society of America

NCPIE is pleased to express its gratitude for their input and participation.

Collaboration Works to Advance Medication Adherence!

Script Your Future, launched in May 2011, is a national public awareness campaign designed to help consumers manage health problems such as diabetes, COPD, asthma, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The campaign includes sample questions to help start a conversation with doctors, pharmacists or nurses about prescribed medicines. The National Consumers League (NCL) coordinates the campaign, with participation from nearly 100 organizations, including the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE), a member of the campaign operating committee.

About the Campaign

Many people never fill their prescriptions, or they may never pick up their filled prescriptions from the pharmacy. Other people bring their medication home, but don't follow their health care professional's instructions — they skip doses or stop taking the medicine, or they take more than instructed or at the wrong time of day.

Not taking your medicine as directed can be bad for your health – it can make it harder to breathe or do everyday things. It can rob you of a long and full life. Not taking your medicine as directed can also lead to other health problems, especially if you already have asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressures. More than one in three medicine-related hospitalizations happen because that person did not take their medicine as directed.

The Script Your Future campaign also includes coordinated national communications, paid advertising and targeted outreach in six cities around the nation: Birmingham, AL; Cincinnati, OH; Baltimore, MD; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Sacramento, CA; and Providence, RI, where local organizations are collaborating to plan events and activities in these cities.

30 Years of Successful Collaborations with Federal Agencies

Public Sector Partners Help Expand NCPIE’s Reach & Impact

  • NCPIE and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe. — a comprehensive guide that answers common questions about getting and taking medicines and has handy forms that will help consumers keep track of information. To preview: click here. To order quantities, click here.

    The Spanish language booklet version: Su medicamento: Informese. Evite riesgos. (Please visit AHRQ site for comprehensive view and html version.)
  • NCPIE, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and over a dozen key stakeholder organizations have teamed up to produce three educational programs addressing prescription drug abuse awareness, prevention and treatment referral. These online resources are available at no cost:
    1. "Not Worth the Risk – Even If It' Legal" media campaign – includes television and radio public service announcements in English and Spanish; leave-behind brochures for parents and teens.
    2. Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer A workshop module to educate and equip teen influencers – parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, community and school-based healthcare providers and others – with credible information addressing the growing problem of prescription drug abuse by teens and effective strategies to take action to help prevent it.
    3. Taking Action to Prevent and Address Prescription Drug Abuse: A Resource Kit for College Campuses – is designed to help inform and mobilize college campuses to raise awareness about and address the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. The materials in the kit are designed to engage and equip peer educators and student leaders with timely and practical information, resources and student-driven programming ideas to educate their peers about prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment.

  • NCPIE and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have enjoyed a collaborative partnership since NCPIE's founding in 1982. Currently NCPIE is working with FDA on several Safe Use Initiative key issues, including:
    1. Acetaminophen Safety
    2. Pain Management in Older Adults
    3. Health Literacy

    NCPIE is also participating in ongoing FDA and Brookings Institution activities to develop quality improvements for written patient medicine information (PMI).

Previous TAP Observances Available Online