Tips on preventing medication errors

Doctors in California and all over the country frequently prescribe medications to patients to treat a range of illnesses. These treatments are only effective when the medicine being prescribed is done so in an accurate manner. Should a medication error occur, patients can become gravely ill, and some may even die as a result of the medical mistake.

According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, mistakes related to prescription drugs can occur both in doctor’s offices, as well as during hospital stays. Drug interactions can be extremely dangerous, so it’s crucial that doctors are aware of potential reactions before giving a patient free samples of a drug. Additionally, complete medication lists should be provided to health care staff at every visit.

For those in the hospital and receiving medication, whoever is administering doses should check the patient ID bracelet. This can prevent a patient from being given someone else’s medicine in error. Also, it’s a good idea to ask the doctor for the names of drugs being taken during a stay. This information can help identify any potential issues with medication before it is actually ingested.

Medline Plus also offers some essential tips on what can be done to reduce the risk of a serious medication error at home. Labeling can provide an abundance of useful information, which is why it’s vital to thoroughly read all accompanying instructions before taking any drug. Errors can also occur at the pharmacy as medication is being filled. Accordingly, patients are encouraged to go over important information with their pharmacists, and to ask questions regarding the purpose of the drug and how it works.