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You can help to prevent medication errors

In our previous blog, we discussed how medication error rates vary greatly in the special needs community. While that post did deal with a very specific group, it is a good reminder for everyone that medication errors can happen so steps must be taken to reduce the possibility that you will be a victim of these errors.

While it might seem a bit much, you should carry a list of the current medications complete with dosing information with you. This is useful for when you go to the doctor or if you end up in the hospital. Instead of trying to remember this information, you can simply present the list. Be sure to include supplements in the list since some supplements can impact prescription drugs.

You should make sure that you know what your medications look like. Each time you are given a new prescription, look up the medication to ensure that it is the correct one. If you get a refill or are given a dosage and something looks amiss, stop and ask questions. You are your own best advocate when it comes to medications that you take.

If you are given a new prescription for something, make sure that everything is clear. While most prescriptions are printed out now, there are still some instances in which you might get a handwritten prescription. If that happens, make sure you can read it.

In the end, you can only do so much to stop errors involving medications. It is up to the medical professionals to ensure that you aren't subjected to these errors. If you are harmed by a medication error, you can take legal action.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, "20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors: Patient Fact Sheet," accessed Nov. 10, 2016

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