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Thursday, August 1, 2013

5 Easy Ways to Avoid Prescription Errors

According to research, 70 percent of Americans are taking prescription drugs. What's more, about 20 percent of Americans are taking five or more prescription medications. At the top of the list are antibiotics, antidepressants and painkillers. In addition, these medications may be prescribed by different doctors. What is to prevent errors from being made that might endanger a patient's health?

There is no doubt that mistakes can and do happen. Over 98,000 deaths each year are caused by medical errors.  Patients are living longer resulting in more need for prescription drugs, and leaving more room for possible error. But there are steps one can take to help ensure their prescriptions are correct. Here are just five.

#1 Know what you are taking and why

Every person receiving a prescription drug from a doctor should be aware of what they are taking and why. Don't rely on blind faith, but ask the doctor to explain what the drug does, how it will help you, and if there are any side effects.

#2 Keep a record of all your prescriptions

Older people, especially, may be receiving medical care from more than one doctor. Patients can ensure that each doctor is aware of what the other is prescribing by keeping a record of each medication, brand or generic name, dosage, and when it was prescribed.

#3 Verify information on the prescription

When your doctor hands you a prescription, read what's on it and verify the information with the doctor before you leave his office. Add this information to your record, then compare it with what the pharmacy gives you to make sure they agree.

#4 Always check your pharmacy record for accuracy

The database at the pharmacy where you get your prescriptions should have a list of your allergies. Make sure they do. Ask them to check any new prescriptions against the allergy list to make sure you are receiving medication you can take safely.

#5 Check the dosage

Many times when patient's get prescription drugs, they have a choice of brand drugs or generic. There is often a difference in milligrams for each pill or capsule. Make sure you are receiving the exact dosage your doctor prescribed.

DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.