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Tips to Protect Yourself from Medication Errors


A medication error may occur when a healthcare provider, pharmacist, or another medical professional prescribes, dispenses, administers, or gives drugs to patients.  Medication mistakes can be prevented, but how do you protect yourself and your family from such errors?

Ways to Prevent Medication Errors

In order to reduce the risk of a medication error, you should take an active role in your health care by considering the following:

  1. Make sure you understand all the recommendations and instructions given by your physician. You need to follow your doctor’s orders. If any instructions seem unclear or confusing, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  2. If you have trouble understanding a doctor’s instructions, always bring your family member or friend to the appointment.
  3. Ask the healthcare provider about interactions between drugs. Some drugs interact with other medicines or even foods, drinks, or herbs.
  4. Provide your doctor or pharmacist with a full list of drugs you take and, ideally, the medicines that you have taken over the past six months. These should include over-the-counter products and prescription drugs.
  5. Inform your doctor if you have experienced an adverse reaction to a particular drug.
  6. Learn about the potential side effects of each medication prior to taking it.
  7. Never take drugs prescribed for another individual or share your prescriptions with someone else.
  8. Create a medicine calendar listing the correct time and dosage for each drug.
  9. Always turn on the lights when taking your medicine at night. Many people mix up pills in the dark.
  10. Throw away expired medicines.
  11. Always keep drugs in their original containers and packaging to prevent the risk of taking unwanted medication when you meant to take another medicine.
  12. Ask the pharmacist what the drug is for when you pick up a prescription, especially if it is your first time getting this prescription.
  13. When getting your prescription refilled, beware of any changes. If the pills come in a different container or package, are a different color or shape, or the instructions have changed, double-check with your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that this is the right medication.
  14. If you are going to the hospital in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia, ask a family member or friend to stay with you. Your companion will make sure that you are taking the right drugs and can voice concerns if something seems wrong.
  15. Do not be embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid to ask questions or tell your pharmacist or doctor to repeat the instructions. Medication errors are less likely to occur when a patient and physician/pharmacist are on the same page.

If you are the victim of a medical error, talk to an Atlanta medication error attorney to determine whether you were a victim of medical malpractice. Contact Carroll Law Firm for a comprehensive case review. Call at 404-816-4555 or go to our Contact Us page.

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