How to Prevent Medication Errors

How to Prevent Medication Errors

Medication can be used to treat – and sometimes cure – many things. But while it can prove extremely helpful, when used incorrectly it can prove harmful. Medication errors such as mistakes while prescribing, dispensing, and giving medications injure hundreds of thousands of people annually. Fortunately, we can prevent medication errors.

Preventable vs. Potential Adverse Drug Events

When medication errors can cause harm it is called a “preventable adverse drug event,” while those that errors that occur which do not cause harm are called “potential adverse drug events.”

Even simple errors can cause serious consequences. It is important to understand how different medications and supplements work in conjunction with others.

For example, if an individual is prescribed pain medication that contains acetaminophen, but then takes Tylenol, which contains the same, it can put that person at risk of liver damage.

The most common causes of medication errors include:

  • Poor communication with your physician
  • Poor communication between your physicians
  • Abbreviated names of drugs
  • Drugs names that sound alike and those that look alike

Most at risk for medication errors are children, as they tend to require different dosages of medicine than adults.

What Can You Do?

One of the most important things that you can do to protect yourself against medication errors is to ensure that you are educated and understand all relevant information. If you do not understand something or have any concerns it is very important that you speak with your doctor. Additionally, any time you increase medication or begin with a new prescription, it is key that you ask and obtain the following information:

  • Brand/generic name of the medication
  • Dosage
  • Length of time to take it
  • Intended effects of medication
  • How to proceed if you miss a dose
  • How to proceed if you exceed the dose
  • Particular foods, drinks, supplements, medications, or exercise you should abstain from while taking the medication
  • Potential side effects
  • Any potential interference with current medication or supplements

Medication Reconciliation

Another one of the most useful things to do in order to prevent medication errors is called medication reconciliation. Any time that you have any changes to your care (e.g. a new medication, new doctor, new practice), you should share your most up-to-date information with your medical providers. This includes:

  • The name and strength of all medications and supplements
  • Medications Allergies/Issues
  • Chronic or serious health issues
  • If you are pregnant are or are trying to become pregnant

Additional safe medication tips include the following:

  • Maintain an up-to-date list of all medications and supplements
  • Keep all medications and supplements in their original bottles/containers
  • Use a pillbox or automatic dispenser to organize your medications
  • Utilize the same pharmacy for all medications
  • Save the information sheets that come with your medications
  • Always double-check the prescription when picking up your meds
  • Never give or take prescriptions to or from others

The Personal Injury Attorneys at Katter Law Firm Help Those in NY Who Have Been Injured Due to Medical Malpractice

Whether physical injuries or financial consequences, medical malpractice can greatly impact your life. At Katter Law Firm, we believe that everyone should be held liable for his or her own negligence; you should not have to bear the burden of someone else’s mistakes. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us today!