Protecting Yourself From Pharmacy Errors

Are you on a prescription medication or two? Do you ever worry that your pharmacist will make a mistake?

You may have good cause to be concerned. It's estimated that one-third of American adults take at last five prescriptions or more a day! That's a lot of prescriptions for pharmacists to fill each day, and mistakes do happen. That's why it's so important to take steps to protect yourself from pharmaceutical errors. Here are the best ways to do it:

1. Know your medications.

Know what drugs you take and know what condition each drug is treating. Some drugs are prescribed for more than one thing, but your condition can dictate how much of the drug you should be taking and how often. If you are prescribed a drug by a brand name, make certain that you know the drug's generic name as well. 

2. Get to know your pharmacist.

Always fill your prescriptions at the same pharmacy. The more familiar your pharmacist is with your prescriptions, the less chance an error will occur. You may also feel more comfortable asking questions from a pharmacist that you recognize.

3. Examine your pills when you receive them.

Never take a prescription medication without looking at it closely first. If you have never had the medication before, the pharmacist should have provided you with a flyer that describes what the pill should look like. Make sure that the descriptions match. 

If you have had the prescription before, make certain that the drug looks the same each time you refill the bottle. If there are any changes to the way the drug is supposed to look, the bottle should be labeled. If you have any doubts about whether or not you were given the right prescription, don't take it without speaking to the pharmacist first.

4. Know the side effect of your drugs.

All drugs have the potential of side effects. It's important to know what possible side effects your drugs have so that you know whether or not what you are experiencing is normal. Make sure you also know which side effects are dangerous and require immediate medical attention. Adverse reactions to medication hospitalize nearly 100,000 people every year, so don't take chances!

Being given the wrong drug by a pharmacist, being given the wrong dosing instructions or not being warned about the possibility of dangerous adverse effects are some of the most common prescriptions errors that happen. The consequences of those errors can last a lifetime. If you've fallen victim to a pharmaceutical error, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you recover your losses.