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Medication Errors and How They Can Happen

Utah is one of the nation’s leading state when it comes to prescription drug use.  When taken properly, prescription medicines can enhance a patient’s lifestyle, and minimize their chance of experiencing damaging side-effects pertaining to a disease or illness.  Even though these medications are designed to heal or provide care, they can be harming or life-threatening if pharmaceutical errors are to occur.  While some medicine errors can be relatively safe, some have the potential to be fatal, such as incorporating an opioid with a sedative.

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What are common medication errors?

  1. Integrating medicines with improper medical professional advice. Due to the fact that many people take vitamins, a medical professional ought to be informed of any supplements due to the potential for adverse effects.  For example, over the counter allergy medications and heartburn pills tend to not respond well with some prescription medications.  In addition, birth control pills may have complications with some vitamins or antibiotics that leads to a less effective contraceptive approach.
  2. Prescribing the wrong drug. In some occasions, an incorrect drug can be prescribed to a person.  There are many reasons that this can happen.  Prescription errors commonly occur at the ordering or prescribing phase.  Typical errors include the healthcare provider composing the incorrect prescription, incorrect usage or dose, or prescribing an amount that is either too large or too small for the needs of the patient.  These ordering errors represent almost 50% of drug-related medication errors.  It is notable that medical mistakes are a prevalent problem, however, these mistakes are preventable in a majority of situations.
  3. Providing the wrong medication to the wrong person. This can happen when the prescriptions are administered by the pharmacist.  Even though these errors are relatively rare, they can and will happen.  Causes can be as simple as the pharmacists not being able to read the script, or giving you incorrect drugs because someone else has a name similar to yours.

A perspective on medication errors

There are nearly 7,000 different prescription medicines in the United States alone.  In addition, there are countless over the counter drugs, wellness supplements, natural herbs, remedies, and lotions that are used by the general public on a daily basis.  With this large variety of materials on the market, it should come as no surprise that blunders can be made when specialists prescribe or administer drugs.

7,000 to 9,000 people die each year in the United States as a result of medication mistakes.  Additionally, thousands of patients will experience negative side-effects with a wide range of damages.  The total cost of treating people effected by medication errors totals over 40 billion dollars every year.  In addition to these financial costs, people often suffer from physical or psychological pain and suffering.  These errors can additionally result in the treated disease or illness not being properly treated.  That is why it is vital that you provide a detailed list of all medications, over the counter drugs and vitamins to your medical professional before they prescribe you more medications.

Jeffrey-D.-Gooch
Jeffrey D. Gooch
Attorney at Law
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