Unfortunately, over 2.2 million patients are given the wrong medication every year-and the side effects range from minor nausea to untimely death.
Get legal information on Houston prescription errors by ordering our FREE book: How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.The most common cause of medication mistakes in Texas is simple human error: a pharmacist failing to read a label, or a nurse mistaking one patient for another. With all the different ways these mistakes can occur, how can you reduce your risk of a medication error?
- Choose your pharmacy wisely. Does your pharmacist know your name? Does she take the time to go over any questions, or does she seem to want to "keep the line moving?" If you're unhappy with the service, fill your prescription somewhere else. Remember: you're the customer, and a pharmacist should want your business.
- Speak up! In many states, pharmacists are required to ask if you have any questions. If you do, now's the time-especially if it's the first time with a new prescription.
- Crack it open. Don't be afraid to open the pill bottle to make sure the medication is what you expected. If the tablet looks different than usual, ask the pharmacist if it has changed and to please double-check. It never hurts to be overly cautious, especially when your health is at risk.
- Keep your own records. Many pharmacies have online ordering, which is an easy way to refill your usual medications. However, it shouldn't be your only record of your prescriptions. Always keep a "hard copy" of labels and other notes, including dosages and dates you began taking them.
- "Thank you, DON'T drive-thru." The drive-thru is a great option for those who are injured or have trouble getting out of cars. Unfortunately, the staff is more likely to make mistakes in the drive-thru pharmacy than with the customers they serve face-face. If you can, always get out of the car for your prescriptions.