When you go to the pharmacy, do you take the time to check your prescription for errors? Because 1.3 million Americans suffer medication error-related injuries each year, this practice could save your life. Pharmacy errors are fairly common in the United States and, with more and more pharmacies hiring technicians and fewer pharmacists to fill prescriptions, the rate of pharmacy errors is likely to increase.
Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist
When you pick up your next prescription, consider the benefits of talking to the pharmacist on duty. Pharmacists are there to ensure your safety and that you’re given the correct medication, so it can be helpful to take advantage of the opportunity to ask them questions. By taking time to consult with your pharmacist, you may catch errors that occurred while the technician was filling the prescription or missed by the pharmacist when he reviewed the technician’s work. Here is a brief look at some of the questions to ask your pharmacist that may save your life:
What is the brand-name and the generic name of this drug?
A simple way to check that you have received the intended prescription is to keep a record of the medications that your doctor has prescribed, and check that your current prescription matches. If you’ve received a generic brand or the drug name isn’t the same, you should ask your pharmacist about the difference to ensure that you have the correct medication.
What is the dosage and the strength of this prescription?
Review with your pharmacist how much of the medication you’re supposed to take on a daily basis, and check the strength of the medication, as well. If there is an inconsistency between what you’re receiving and what you believe your doctor prescribed, be sure to mention this to the pharmacist. This is an opportunity for you catch a mistake.
How does the prescription work, and what does it treat?
To verify that you’ve been given the correct prescription, ask your pharmacist if the medication is typically used to treat your injury or condition. If not, the pharmacist may re-check the prescription to determine if he’s given you the wrong drug.
Will this prescription interfere with any other medications?
Pharmacists aren’t the only ones who can make mistakes. Your doctor may have prescribed new medication and overlooked a possible drug interaction with some other medication you’re taking. Ask the pharmacist about the potential hazards of taking the new medication with what you’re currently taking to avoid a possible dangerous drug interaction.
Additional Questions You May Want to Ask
While you may be able to find the answers to many of these questions online or simply by reading the label or instructions that are attached to your prescription, a dialog with a trained and experienced pharmacist could help protect you from incorrect information.
- How often am I supposed to take this medication? And for how long?
- Should I eat or drink with this medication? At what time of day should I take it?
- What are the possible side effects of this medication?
- What are some other uses for this medication?
Quick-fill prescriptions and drive-thru services are extremely convenient for the fast-paced consumer, but in order to protect your safety or that of a loved one, it’s important to ask questions to avoid falling victim to a pharmacy mistake. Advocate for your health by verifying that you have received the correct medication.
If you’ve suffered injuries as a result of a pharmacy error, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact us at 888-526-7616 for a free case review, or fill out our confidential contact form.