How do we make sure we aren't the victim of a medication error? The following are five tips to help you keep your medications as safe as possible by being sure you got the right meds from the pharmacy.
1. Neatness Counts -can you read these scripts? Can your pharmacist?
Doctors are notorious for the worst penmanship in modern society. Make sure you know what medication and what dosage of the medication you are supposed to use before you leave the doctor's office. Write it down, along with the proper spelling. One letter written or transposed with another letter, or misunderstood by a rushed pharmacist can spell disaster. When you get your prescription from the pharmacy, double-check your written instructions against the label before you leave the store.
2. Understand Side Effects
Every medication, from simple aspirin to strong chemotherapy drugs, has side effects. Different drugs and different medications interact differently. Make sure you keep your medication list up to date at every doctor's visit, as well as at the pharmacy. Ask the pharmacist before you leave with your medication to check for drug interactions between it and everything else on your list, as well as any vitamins and herbs you take. Some herbs will negate the action of pharmaceutical drugs and other herbs.
3. Medicine isn't A Cheeseburger.
Avoid the drive-through window at the pharmacy. How many times have you gotten home with a drive-through meal that was not what you ordered because the kid in the window was ridiculously busy with filling orders, answering the phone and dealing with co-workers? The difference at the pharmacy is that you can be made very ill or worse by pharmacy mistakes made at the drive through.
4. Is This Medicine Mine?
Many people have been given extra prescriptions that did not belong to them because the pharmacy was understaffed and someone became careless. This leads to terrible medication errors with deadly consequences. Look at everything you have in your bag before you leave. If something seems wrong or you have questions, get answers from the pharmacist. Make sure you don't get the wrong medication.
5. Timing is Everything
We all have certain days of the week or month when we get our regular prescriptions that we need to live. The first week of the month, Fridays and Mondays are the times when people are most likely to receive incorrect medications. These are the times when the most people visit a pharmacy, when extended wait times, understaffing and carelessness are most likely to cause pharmacy errors that lead to medication mishaps.
If you have been the victim of a pharmacy mistake order our free book, "How to Make Pharmacies Pay for your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors," to learn more about what you can do to fight back. Order your free book by calling 877-342-2020 or by filling out our confidential online form.