What Are Medication Errors? How Can You Reduce Risk?

What Are Medication Errors? How Can You Reduce Risk?

Medication errors are slips that occur in prescribing, allotting, and giving medicines. Every year many people are negatively affected by medication mistakes and as per the experts, most of the medication errors can be prevented. How can you protect yourself from medication errors? Read along to know. 


Taking an active role in your healthcare is one of the most effective ways to cut down your risk. You need to learn about the medicines that you take and also try to understand the possible side effects of these medications. You should never hesitate to share your concerns or ask questions to your physician, pharmacist, and other healthcare professionals. 


What Are Medication Errors? 

The majority of the medication errors are avertible and those that injure are called preventable adverse drug events. A potential adverse drug event is the term used to refer to a medication mistake in which no one is hurt. Taking an OTC medicine that contains acetaminophen when you are on prescription medicine that contains acetaminophen is an example of a medication mistake. This can make you take more than the recommended dosage of acetaminophen, which might damage your liver. 


How Can Medication Errors Happen? 

Medication mistakes and errors can happen to anyone at any time and place, including your home or the pharmacy, doctor’s office, hospital, or a senior living facility. In the opinion of medical experts, children are at high risk for medication mistakes as they usually need different medication doses than grown-ups. 


There can be many causes of medication errors and some of the most common causes are: 

  • Inefficient and improper communication between the doctor and patient. 
  • Poor communication between medical professionals. 
  • Medicines that look alike and names of medications that sound alike. 
  • Use of medical abbreviations. 


How To Prevent Medication Errors? 

Your best defense to avoid medication mistakes is keeping yourself educated. If you are confused or do not understand something that your doctor says, never hesitate to ask for an explanation. Before starting any new medication, you should be capable of giving satisfactory answers to the questions listed below. 

  • What is the generic name of the medicine you are consuming?
  • What is the dosage of the medicine? 
  • What is the normal effect of the medication and how long will it take to show any effects? 
  • What should be done if I accidentally overdose?
  • Are there any side effects? 
  • Will the medicine interact with other medicines that I take?