View Full Version : Medication Errors--Don't be a statistic!

05-29-2010, 01:05 AM
This article in the news today talks about the huge number of prescription drug errors that occur because of similar sounding drug names.

Look-alike, sound-alike drugs trigger dangers - More health news- msnbc.com (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37386398/ns/health-more_health_news/)

I wish they would've done a better job of telling how patients can avoid mistakes. Well, I guess that's my job (ahem). :D

When your doc is prescribing a new drug, ask him/her to
1) Spell it for you
2) Tell you how many milligrams to take each day (not just how many pills)
3) What the drug is for
4) What common side effects to look for

Write it all down even if you understand it at the time. If your doctor is impatient while you write, remind him/her that people die because of medication mistakes and you don't intend to be one of them.

When you pick up a new drug
1) Bring your notes from the doctor visit
2) ALWAYS ask to speak to the pharmacist to verify you're getting the right drug/dose

Before you leave the pharmacy
1) Compare your notes with the bottle label to make sure they match--name and dosage
2) Prescriptions have a description of the pill on them (eg. white, circular tablet). Open the bottle and make sure your drug matches the description. This isn't failproof, since many drugs have the same description, but it helps.

I know this sounds like overkill, but it'll keep you alive. You can't be too careful when it comes to prescription drugs.

05-29-2010, 04:11 AM
Thank You Sangye.

05-29-2010, 05:32 AM
Pills also have numbers and other information impressed in them. Be familiar with this prescription-specific information as well, especially if you have two or more similar-looking pills. Another thing I ran into is different manufacturers of the generic versions of pills don't necessarily package them in the same shapes. When in doubt about a pill, don't hesitate to ask your pharmacist. Don't take any medication until you are sure it is the right drug, is what Sangye's saying. Excellent advice as usual!

05-29-2010, 07:32 AM
Your pharmacist can be you best friend in this process. Too frequently we are prescribed medications by multiple physicians. I always make sure that every doctor visit starts with a recap of all current medications. In spite of that my pharmacist recently caught a drug interaction when I went to fill a new prescription. He caught one for my wife before I lost her to heart disease.

05-29-2010, 12:58 PM
Or your pharmacist can give you the wrong medicine. I had one give my the wrong medicine and it caused me to have my heart rate go up. Scary!