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How Can You Help Prevent Medication Errors?

After your latest routine check-up, you learned you have a health condition that requires medication. You may worry less about your prescriptions’ effects and more about human errors that could put your health at risk.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration helps consumers protect themselves from medication errors. Learn how to protect yourself and your peace of mind.

Understand how Medication Errors Happen

Educating yourself on how pharmaceutical mistakes happen could help safeguard your health. For instance, doctors and pharmacists may confuse the names of two drugs that sound alike and give a patient the wrong one. Patients could also become medication error victims if they mistake eye drops for ear drops.

Ask Questions

When your physician or pharmacist gives or prescribes a medication, ask why you need to take it. It also makes sense to ask for the name of the drug and its spelling. Determine how long you should expect to see results from the medication and ask what side effects you should expect. Do you need to keep the medication in the refrigerator?

Double-Check the Label

If you take multiple medications, check the label every time you take a dose. A quick look could keep you from taking the wrong prescription or dosage.

Keep and Update Your List of Medications

In the weeks and months ahead, you may take new medications, stop taking a prescription, or switch doses. Keep a notebook of your current medications and doses, including over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Patients play a major part in sidestepping medication errors. Getting the facts on the matter protects lives and legal rights.