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FDA Announces Safe Use Initiative

On November 4, 2009, the FDA introduced its "Safe Use Initiative," an effort to collaborate with the health care field to reduce the preventable harm resulting from medication use and misuse.

The Initiative is in response to the millions of consumers who are harmed each year because of the misuse of medications. The inappropriate use of medications can be a result of several factors, including (1) incomplete access to information, (2) unintentional misuse of medications, medication abuse, and attempts by people to harm themselves with medications, or (3) taking prescription drugs prescribed for other people.

Taking prescription drugs prescribed for other people is a serious abuse, as even one single dose of certain medications, such as opioid drugs, can cause severe harm or death to the person not prescribed the medication.

Through the Initiative, the FDA will work alongside health care professionals to identify drugs that are linked to preventable harm. The FDA intends to collaborate with health care professionals to (1) evaluate consumer medication information, (2) communicate about the risk of inadvertent overexposure to acetaminophen, (3) apply safeguards against surgery fires caused by alcohol-based surgical preparations, and (4) avoid contamination of multiple-use medication vials.

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