According to the US Food and Drug Administration, pharmacists must ask at least five specific questions to AVOID harmful medication errors, including:
- · A: Allergies. Pharmacists must ask patients for a full history of allergies, including adverse reactions to a drug. Since many patients are aware they have allergies, pharmacists should ask “if there is any drug that has ever caused an ill-effect for any reason” and encourage the patient to discuss why.
- · V: Vitamins and herbs. Many herbal supplements cause drug interactions, so pharmacists must specifically ask if patients are taking any vitamins or natural products.
- · O: OTC and old medications. Patients should inform pharmacists of any over-the-counter drugs they are taking, as well as former medications. Drugs can stay in the body for a long time, and can still cause a drug on drug interaction weeks after the patient has stopped taking them.
- · I: Interaction information. No matter how small the risk may be, patients must still be educated on potential adverse drug interactions before they start taking a new medication.
- · D: Dependence. Patients should be counseled on the importance of sticking to their health care regimens, informing the pharmacist of any changes or reactions, and be aware of the risks of drug dependence.
In addition to using the AVOID method, health care providers should also complete a full family history outlining problems with any medications to determine whether any specific mediation issues are particular to your family. If any of your relatives react badly to blood thinners, for example, your doctor should take care when prescribing them.
If someone you love was injured by a pharmacist’s negligence, our pharmacy error lawyers can help.
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