How To Reduce Risks When Taking Prescribed Medication

Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips

Medication errors are avoidable. Your best defense is asking concerns and being informed about the medications you take.

Medication errors describe mistakes in recommending, giving and providing medications. They injure numerous countless people every year in the United States. A lot of medication errors can be prevented. How can you protect yourself and your household?

One of the very best ways to reduce your threat of a medication error is to take an active function in your healthcare. Discover the medications you take– including possible side effects. Never think twice to ask concerns or share worry about your doctor, pharmacist, and other healthcare providers.

Precisely what are medication errors?

Medication errors are avoidable events due to the inappropriate use of medications. Medication errors that trigger damage are called avoidable adverse drug occasions. If a medication error occurred but didn’t injure anyone, it’s called a prospective unfavorable drug event.

An example of a medication error is taking an over the counter product that contains acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) when you’re already taking a prescription discomfort medication which contains this exact ingredient. This mistake could cause you to take more than the advised dosage of acetaminophen, putting yourself at danger of liver damage.

Another example of a possible medication error is taking a depression medication called fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) with a migraine drug called sumatriptan (Imitrex). Both medications impact levels of a brain chemical called serotonin. Taking them together might lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of the unsafe drug interaction consist of confusion, agitation, fast heartbeat and increased body temperature, to name a few.

How do medication errors occur?
Medication errors can happen to anyone in any location, including your own home and at the doctor’s workplace, medical facility, pharmacy and senior living center. Kids are especially at high risk for medication errors because they generally require various drug doses than adults.

Knowing what you’re up versus can help you play it safe. The most common causes of medication errors are:

Poor communication between your doctors
Poor interaction between you and your doctors
Drug names that sound alike and medications that look alike
Medical Abbreviations
Know how to avoid medication errors

Knowledge is your finest defense. If you don’t understand something, your doctor says, ask for a description.

Whenever you start a new medication, make sure you know the responses to these questions:

Precisely what is the brand name or generic name of the medication?
What is the medication supposed to do? How long will it be until I see outcomes?
What is the dosage? The length of time should I take it?
Correctly what should I do if I miss out on a dose?
Correctly what should I do if I mistakenly take more than the recommended dosage?
Are there any foods, drinks, other medications or activities I should prevent while taking this medication?
Precisely what are the possible adverse effects? Correctly what should I do if they happen?
Will this brand-new medication hinder my other medication( s)? If so, how?
Your doctor can assist avoid medication errors by utilizing a computer to enter and print (or digitally send) any prescription details, instead of hand composing one.

Participate in medication reconciliation

Asking questions is essential, but it isn’t enough. Your healthcare service providers can follow a process called medication reconciliation to reduce your threat of medication errors substantially.

Medication reconciliation is a security method that includes comparing the list of medications your health care provider presently has with the list of drugs you are currently taking. This process is done to prevent medication errors such as:

Missing out on medications (omissions).
Duplicate medications.
Dosing errors.
Drug interactions.
Medication reconciliation must be done at every shift of care in which new medications are ordered, or existing orders are rewritten. Transitions in care include changes in setting (such as being admitted or released from the hospital), healthcare service provider or level of care.

Sharing your most up-to-date information with your health care providers offers the clearest photo of your condition and helps prevent medication mistakes.

Here’s what you need to tell your healthcare providers:

The name and strength of all medications you’re taking and when you take them, consisting of prescription medications, herbs, vitamins, nutritional supplements, over the counter drugs, vaccines and anything got intravenously, including diagnostic and contrast agents, radioactive medications, feeding tube supplements and blood products.

  • Any medications that you’re allergic to or that have caused problems for you in the past.
  • Whether you have any persistent or severe illness.
  • If you may be pregnant or you’re aiming to conceive.

Prevent these mistakes.

The following medication errors have happened to some people. Do not make these same mistakes.

  • Confusing eardrops and eyedrops. Always verify the label. If a medication says “otic,” it’s for the ears. If it says “ophthalmic,” it’s for the eyes.
    Chewing unchewable. Don’t presume chewing a tablet is as good as swallowing it. Some medications should never be chewed, cut or squashed. Doing so might change how they’re taken in by the body.
  • Cutting up pills. Never divide tablets unless your doctor or pharmacist has informed you it’s safe to do so. Some medications should not be cut because they’re specially coated to be long acting or to secure the stomach.
  • Using the incorrect spoon. The spoons in your flatware drawer aren’t determining spoons. To get an accurate dose, utilize an oral syringe (readily available at pharmacies) or the dose cup that included the medication.
  • Make safety a habit.

Enter into the routine of playing it safe with these medication tips:

  • Keep a current list of all your medications, consisting of nonprescription drugs and supplements.
  • Shop medications in their original identified containers.
  • Keep your medications organized by using a pillbox or an automated pill dispenser.
  • Conserve the info sheets that come with your medications.
  • Use the same pharmacy, if possible, for all of your prescriptions.
  • When you get a prescription, check that it’s the one your doctor ordered.
  • Do not offer your prescription medication to another person and don’t take another person’s.
A final word on medication errors.

” Don’t ask, do not tell” is never a wise policy when it comes to medications and your health. Don’t hesitate to ask concerns or to tell your healthcare suppliers if anything seems amiss. Keep in mind; you’re the last line of defense against medication errors.

If regardless of your efforts you have problems with a medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about whether to report it to MedWatch– the Fda safety and adverse event reporting program. Reporting to MedWatch is easy, private and secure– and it can help save others from being hurt by medication errors.