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Avoidable Prescription Drug Errors

Prescription drug errors are far too common given the potentially disastrous outcome of taking the wrong dosage or receiving the wrong medication. They can occur in settings that range from hospitals to your local pharmacy and be made by doctors, pharmacists or other responsible medical professionals. The best way to keep yourself and family members safe from these mistakes is to educate yourself.

Common mistakes put you at risk

Some of the most common errors related to prescriptions drugs include the following:

  • Incorrect dosage
  • Wrong medication
  • Misuse
  • Inappropriate prescription for specific person to whom prescribed
  • Wrong recipient

What you can do to protect yourself and loved ones

Starting from the moment you are prescribed a medication, you should take an active role in the process. Make sure your doctor knows all of the other medications you are taking, including herbal supplements and vitamins, even if you think they already know. Also, make sure your doctor is aware of any prior allergic reactions to medications. Your current prescription may be for a wholly unrelated ailment but have a common core ingredient that could trigger the same allergy.

Read up on any chronic conditions you have and research which drugs may be contraindicated. Sometimes, physicians become forgetful as they go from patient to patient, or, if you're in the hospital, they may not have a complete medical history to go on. Don't hesitate to question a physician if you think they aren't considering your existing conditions.

When you go to the pharmacy to get your medications, take advantage of the opportunity to ask the pharmacist any questions. Before leaving, read the directions on the medication and any flyers included that list directions, warnings about drug interactions and the like. If anything is unclear or seems wrong to you, ask the pharmacist.

Looking out for yourself and your family is smart - but ultimately, it is the doctor, pharmacist or other medical professional prescribing your medication who is responsible for your health and safety. If you are hurt because of a prescription drug error, it's time to contact a medical malpractice attorney.

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