5 Moments for medication safety

All reasonable precautions have been taken by the World Health Organization to verify the information contained in this document. However, the published material is being distributed without warranty of any kind, either expressed or supplied. The responsibility or the interpretation of and use of this material lies with the reader. In no event shall the World Health Organization be liable for damages arising from its use.


© World Health Organization 2019. Some rights reserved. This work is available under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO licence.

The 5 Moments for Medication Safety are the key moments where action by the patient or caregiver can greatly reduce the risk of harm associated with the use of their medication/s. Each moment includes 5 critical questions. Some are self-reflective for the patient and some require support from a health professional to be answered and reflected upon correctly.

This tool for patient engagement has been developed as part of the third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm.

It is intended to engage patients in their own care in a more active way, to encourage their curiosity about the medications they are taking, and to empower them to communicate openly with their health professionals.

This tool is intended for use by patients, their families and caregivers, with the help of health professionals, at all levels of care and across all settings.

For patients, families and caregivers

Pay attention to these 5 MOMENTS when using medication/s.

ASK these QUESTIONS and FIND the ANSWERS with the help of a health care professional whenever you:

  • visit a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or dentist
  • visit a primary health care facility or pharmacy
  • are admitted to and discharged from a health care facility
  • are referred to another health care facility
  • are transferred to another health care facility
  • receive treatment and care at home.

For health professionals

Promote patient engagement by introducing this tool to your patients, their families and caregivers and supporting them in answering the questions.


  • What is the name of this medication and what is it for?
  • What are the risks and possible side-effects?
  • Is there another way of treating my condition?
  • Have I told my health professional about my allergies and other health conditions?
  • How should I store this medication?


  • When should I take this medication and how much should I take each time?
  • How should I take the medication?
  • Is there anything related to food and drink that I should know while taking this medication?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?
  • What should I do if I have side-effects?


  • Do I really need any other medication?
  • Have I told my health professional about the medications I am already taking?
  • Can this medication interact with my other medications?
  • What should I do if I suspect an interaction?
  • Will I be able to manage multiple medications correctly?


  • Do I keep a list of all my medications?
  • How long should I take each medication?
  • Am I taking any medications I no longer need?
  • Does a health professional check my medications regularly?
  • How often should my medications be reviewed?


  • When should I stop each medication?
  • Should any of my medications not be stopped suddenly?
  • What should I do if I run out of medication?
  • If I have to stop my medication due to an unwanted effect, where should I report this?
  • What should I do with leftover or expired medications?

For more information, please visit:


Facebook messenger