Medication Safety: 4 Steps for Safe Medicine
Medication errors and mistakes have become an increasingly common problem in our country. When doctors prescribe the wrong medications, administer the wrong dosages, or fail to factor in the other medications a patient is taking, the results can be severe and life threatening. To call attention to the inherent risks involved in taking medication and to prevent medication errors and mistakes, the medical community designated the first week of April as medication awareness month, providing information and resources to the general public in an effort to prevent these errors from occurring. To help with the safety of both you and your loved ones, and to prevent potentially serious injuries, the following is information you can use to help you to make sure your medications are safe.
Preventing Medication Errors
According to medication error statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients make more than 700,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms as the result of adverse drug events each year. These events are often caused by being prescribed the wrong medication from your doctor, receiving the wrong dosage, or receiving a medication that has dangerous interactions with other health conditions or medications you are currently taking. The effects of medication errors can be severe and life threatening, and may include allergic reactions, severe side effects, and accidental overdose.
In light of how common these types of errors are and the dangers they present, the National Patient Safety Foundation advises anyone who is currently taking or is prescribed medication to take the appropriate precautions and follow these simple steps:
- Be your own patient advocate. Disclose to your doctor all prescription and over the counter medicines you are currently taking, as well as all supplements. Remind your doctor of any allergies or conditions you have, and make sure they are aware of treatments you receive from specialists or other medical providers.
- Communicate with your pharmacist. Use the same pharmacy when possible, and make sure they are aware of all the medications you are taking. Periodically update your information, and make sure they have your personal data correct in their computer system.
- Read labels. Check the names on the label to make sure it is your prescription, prescribed by your doctor. Follow the instructions on when and how long to take your medicine, as well as special instructions on how to take it and activities that should be avoided when on it.
- Keep records. Maintain a list of all medicines you have been prescribed, why you are taking them, and any negative effects you may have suffered.
Do not hesitate to speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you think an error has been made or if you are suffering adverse effects. Being proactive when it comes to medication safety is in your best interests, and could help avoid serious injuries.
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Reach Out to Us for Assistance
If you or someone you care about has been injured as the result of a medication error, mistake, or adverse side effects, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we provide aggressive legal representation to help keep your rights and interests are protected. We can advise you on whether you may have a medical claim, and assist you in getting compensation for any injuries you have suffered.