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What Are the 3 Most Common Pharmaceutical Errors - and How Can I Avoid Them?

Maybe it's the white coats or the ever-friendly smiles. We tend to think of our pharmacist as not simply a medicinal cashier, but rather a unique mix of doctor and trusted friend.

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As it turns out, prescription errors happen more often than you might imagine, and they can have serious or even deadly consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has spent years monitoring adverse drug effects in the United States, and its findings are shocking: More than 700,000 people are admitted to emergency rooms every year due to complications from their prescribed medications.

If you became ill or were injured after taking medication that you were prescribed, contact a Rome personal-injury lawyer from The Finnell Firm. Robert Finnell is an experienced accident attorney who has been successful in representing injured clients in cases involving medical product liability, workers' compensation, and catastrophic injuries such as brain and burn trauma.

Call 866-464-4017 for a free consultation. You can read more about lawsuits involving medication and pharmaceutical errors by visiting USAttorneys.com.

3 Categories of Pharmaceutical Errors - and How to Prevent Them

Between the time a new drug is created and the moment your doctor decides it will help in your course of treatment, many things can go wrong. Researchers from the FDA have divided the most common pharmaceutical errors into three categories, according to their cause:

1. Prescription Errors

These are most often the result of administrative oversight. Doctors will rarely prescribe you the wrong medication due to a lack of knowledge, but they may become confused if they are faced with an incomplete medical history or inaccurate records. These can lead to prescriptions that fail to take into account other indications - and could result in you taking either the wrong medication or far too much of the right one.

2. Dispensing Errors

Many pharmacists are encouraged to work quickly and for long periods of time, and this can cause them to become fatigued and lose focus. When that happens, you could receive the wrong medication simply because its name is similar to the one you were prescribed, or suffer from harmful side effects because your pharmacist failed to notice dangerous drug interactions.

3. Administrative Errors

In any hospital setting, nurses are well-trained in the "five rights" policy: giving the right dose of the right drug to the right patient at the right time by the right route. In an ideal setting, this would guarantee that you are prescribed and dispensed the correct medication - but if anything goes wrong with one of those rights, you could end up getting hurt.

The Institute for Safe Medical Practices acknowledges that, just like in any business setting, mistakes can and do happen in a hospital or pharmacy. For this reason, it recommends that you take a hands-on approach to your own diagnosis - and that includes the medication you are prescribed and given. When dealing with your doctor, it is crucial that you take the time to confirm these five questions:

1.     What are the brand and generic names of my medication?

2.     How many times should I take my medication per day, and how much at a time?

3.     Should I take my medication with meals or on an empty stomach?

4.     What are the side effects of this medicine, and what should I do if they happen?

5.     How does this medicine interact with my other medicines - or with my diet?

If you fell ill or suffered some sort of internal injury while taking your medication as prescribed, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Contact a personal-injury lawyer from The Finnell Firm to discuss your legal options. 

Rome accident attorney Robert Finnell has been practicing law for more than 37 years, much of which has been focused in the area of personal-injury law. Call 866-464-4017 to schedule a free initial consultation.

 

 

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