There are many pharmaceutical companies producing drugs—resulting in multiple brand-name and generic medications that can treat a given condition. When patients have a health condition, doctors prescribe a certain drug for treatment. After a patient is taking a specific medicine for several months or years, doctors sometimes switch the medication to another brand or dosage. This occurs because a patient’s health condition could have changed or a doctor may have concerns over a certain drug.
While a change in medicine may not sound harmful to patients, it can be potentially dangerous due to the following reasons:
- Doctor may not inform pharmacy to replace old medicine with new drug
- Pharmacy may fill both drugs instead of replacing the existing one
- Patient may take both drugs intended to treat the same condition
When a current or existing medicine is filled with a new medication, patients may not realize the pharmacy mistake and may take the new drug in addition to the existing medication. Sadly, this serious pharmacy error can lead to patients taking a wrong medication or double the intended dosage.
How to Prevent This Mistake From Occurring
If your health condition changes or if your doctor recommends a change with your medicine, it is critical that you are aware of exactly what is taking place with your medications. This means you need to ask your doctor questions to find out if the new medicine is replacing a drug you are currently taking. Ask specific questions, such as:
- Will this new medicine be replacing one of my current medications?
- Is there a drug you want me to stop taking with the addition of this new medicine?
- What is the new drug called?
- Did you let my pharmacy know of the changes to my medicine?
While a doctor’s office should communicate any medication changes to your pharmacy, sometimes the information isn’t communication correctly or a pharmacist doesn’t review the new information accurately. When this happens, you may receive both medications—the new and the old drug. In order to not receive both prescriptions, make sure your pharmacist knows that the new drug is replacing your old prescription.
When you pick up your medication at the pharmacy, open the bag and check your prescription before you leave. This is especially important if you are refilling multiple medications because you may not realize that the pharmacy filled two medicines for one health condition. Another way to prevent taking the wrong medication or too many drugs is to keep a medication list. By knowing what drugs you are supposed to be taking and comparing the medications you picked up at the pharmacy with your list, you will know if the pharmacy gave you too many medicines.
The Sad Reality of Accidentally Taking Two Medications for One Condition
Sadly, when two medications are accidentally taken for the same condition, a patient will get too much of the active ingredient. Too much of a medication dosage can have serious side effects. For example, a hematoma or excessive bleeding could develop if two blood thinners are taken together. This could cause a patient severe internal bleeding that could even be fatal.
To help your loved ones avoid making this dangerous medication mistake, share this article with them by clicking on one of the buttons to the left of the screen. Doing so could help save their lives.