Medication Errors

A meningitis outbreak was recently linked to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. It has caused terror in patients taking medication everywhere. While the pharmacy involved was a compounding pharmacy that creates specialized medications, medication errors can occur with any drug at any pharmacy.

A medication error is an event that usually can be prevented. It’s usually defined as an event that causes a medication to be used in a manner that wasn’t intended. When these errors cause injury or death, they are called adverse drug events.

Some typical medication errors are:

  • Taking over-the-counter products that counteract or interfere with your prescription medication
  • Taking two prescription medications that can cause a dangerous interaction. For instance taking sulfamethoxazole to treat an infection at the same time you are taking the blood thinner warfarin. This combination can increase your risk of excess bleeding
  • Doctors prescribing the wrong dosage
  • Accidentally taking the wrong dosage
  • The pharmacy dispensing the wrong drug

At the doctor’s office, patients can protect themselves against medication errors by making sure:

  • The doctor wrote down the drug that was discussed
  • It is the correct dosage for their body weight (ask the doctor)
  • They understand how to take it

Once patients are at the pharmacy they can:

  • Check to make sure they received the proper medication
  • Check that it is the right dosage
  • Ask the pharmacist to make sure this drug doesn’t interfere with any current medication they are taking
  • Inquire if they can take over-the-counter medication while on this drug.

Medication can be just what the doctor ordered or it may not be. Stay vigilant to protect your health and avoid medication errors.

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If We Can Fight For Our Country, We Can Fight For You.

Attorneys Dan Jason and Claire Bradley Jason are Military Veterans with a combined 16 years on active duty as Captains and Judge Advocates in the United States Army. Dan served at several military installations, including as Trial Defense Counsel with the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, South Korea; and Group Judge Advocate with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, Ft. Gillem, GA. Claire is an Operation Desert Storm Combat Veteran and served in a host of other installations. After moving into the Reserves, both attained the ranks of Major before their honorable discharges in 2002. Dan and Claire received several awards for their military service.

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