Just how dangerous can the wrong medication be?

If you go to the hospital or to see your medical provider and are given a prescription for a new medication, you’ll probably assume that your doctor did their homework and selected a drug that is safe for you. As a patient, it’s important to note that you should always do your own review. While your medical provider and the pharmacist will review a medication to make sure you can take it with others that you’re on, you may find that a medication you’re prescribed is the wrong one for your condition or has side effects and risks you weren’t aware of.

It is your medical provider’s responsibility to order the correct medication for you. That being said, there are dozens of medications with similar names. For example, Zoloft, Zyrtec and Xanax all sound similar, but they have completely different purposes. An overly tired medical provider, or one who confuses the medications for another reason, may order the wrong one for your condition. Then, you could take it and have unexpected symptoms and side effects. In some cases, patients may be allergic or end up failing to treat the illness they were being seen for.

What happens if you take the wrong medication?

Taking the wrong medication has the potential to be life-threatening. At the very least, it won’t be treating the condition you were concerned about. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to the pharmacist when you go to pick up the medication. Make sure you understand what the medication is going to be used for. A pharmacist that explains that the medication is for different purposes than you thought can call your medical provider and make sure that it’s the one they intended to order. That way, you’ll be less likely to suffer from injuries and side effects that the medication could cause.

Another thing to remember is to check what the medication looks like. If you’ve had it before and the name has changed, there’s a chance that the medication has switched to a generic one, but it could also be the wrong one. Look it up online to verify it, or talk to the pharmacist about your concerns to be sure you’re taking the right medication.