Approximately 1.3 million people in the U.S. are injured every year by prescription medication errors. Prescription medication errors are the most common medical error reported in out-patient clinics, hospitals, long term care settings. Most of the medication mistakes were preventable and can be traced back to human error.
Prescription Medication Error Drug Categories
The prescription medications that are most frequently associated with serious medical issues are those most commonly taken by those over 50-years of age. The medication categories reported with the most errors include common blood pressure medications, cardiovascular medications, pain relievers including opioids and acetaminophen, or diabetic prescriptions of insulin.
Prescription Medication Error Statistics
Cardiovascular drugs and prescription pain medications were associated with two-thirds of all deaths from medication errors. Medication errors related to diabetic drugs have increased to over 300%. Overall, from 2010 to 2016, there has been a 462% increase in prescription medication errors reported.
Preventing Prescription Drug Errors
You can help prevent the chance of becoming a statistic of a prescription medication error. Protect your health and your life by taking charge of your medications. Ask questions. Find out the what, why, how, and when to take your medications. Speak with your physician and the pharmacist. Some of the preventative strategies you may take to protect yourself and your loved ones include:
• Georgia law mandates that a pharmacist offers consultation when you pick up a new prescription. The consultation must be with the actual pharmacist, not the pharmacy technician. Take advantage of this law and ask questions.
• Educate yourself on what you are taking, why, how to take, when to take, any drug or food interactions to be aware of
• Ask your doctor and pharmacist about each medication, why you are taking it, how it should be taken, what to do if you miss a dose, any drug interactions to be aware of
• Develop a system to keep track of when to take your medications through use of a pill organizer, medication log, a written schedule or daily check list
• Ask your pharmacy is they offer pre-filling your pill sorter or if they offer another daily pill sorter system
• Keep medications in a safe, dry place, out of reach of children and pets
• Refrigerate those drugs that specify to refrigerate them
• Educate yourself to any side effects to watch for and plan for safety
• Keep the phone number to the pharmacy and physician handy for a quick call to answer any question you may have
• Ask questions – don’t just second guess or wonder if something is right or not
• Check your pills as sometimes a manufacturer has changed and your pills may look different – you may mistakenly take a pill that now looks like another medication you are taking
• Read the prescription label for correct name, dosage, precautions
• If in the hospital, ask what medications they are giving you and why
• If you cannot read the prescription, ask the doctor to print it out clearly – if the pharmacist misreads it, you may receive the wrong medication or dosage. Taking an extra moment to write clearly may save your life.
Prescription Medication Error Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a prescription medication error, take charge of the situation and call on an expert in prescription medication harm and error – Call the office of attorney Joel Baskin for a private consultation of your medical and financial recovery needs.