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Common Types of Medication Errors

Receiving the proper medication is essential for treatment plans and maintaining good overall health. The use of incorrect medication can have a serious of adverse side effects, including death. According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, approximately 1.3 million people experience and injury due to medication errors. In addition, over 100,000 Americans each year of adverse drug reactions according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Pharmacists and drugstores may make mistakes that can harm the health of their customers and result in additional medical charges and lost wages.

There are a few types of medication errors that are more common than others. The most common types of medication errors including the filling a pill bottle with incorrect medication, filling a prescription with the wrong dosage, mislabeling medicine, giving incorrect instructions, and giving the wrong medication to the wrong customer.

The United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), which is a database of anonymously reported medication errors, states that insulin, morphine, potassium chloride, albuterol, heparin, vancomycin, cefazolin, acetaminophen, warfarin, and furosemide are the most common types of medication errors. Antibiotics are also a significant source of medication errors, which can result in acute medical conditions. You can protect yourself against medication errors by thoroughly reading the instructions and double-checking the medication with your drugstore or pharmacist.

One of the driving factors behind medication errors is the volume of work that pharmacists complete on a daily basis. Pharmacists are asked to quickly fill a large number of medications, which sometimes inhibits the quality of care received my patients.

You can also protect yourself against medication errors by directly asking your doctor the prescribed drug, dosage level, and maybe even the physical characteristics of the pill. If you are in a hospital, do not be afraid to ask for the name and purpose of each drug that they would like to give you. When the doctor asks about current drug usage or any other medical conditions it is important to give them full information so that you can prevent harmful drug interactions.

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