Medication Errors

At least 1.5 million Americans are injured or killed each year by negligence in prescribing and dispensing medications, according to the Consumer’s Medical Journal.

Prescription errors are a common medical mistake, and they can cause serious injury or death.  Medication errors can occur because of physician’s error, or due to an error by pharmacies when they dispense the medication, and include:

  • Inappropriate medication. When the wrong drug is prescribed for a disease or condition, a patient can suffer both the side effects of the incorrect medication, and the effects of not receiving the proper medication.
  • Wrong medication. Sometimes a patient is given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage dispensed from the pharmacy or hospital – despite the doctor prescribing the correct one.
  • Drug name mix-ups. Several prescription medications have similar-sounding names. The physician and pharmacist need to be vigilant about ensuring they are not negligent in prescribing or dispensing the wrong medication.
  • Dangerous drug combinations. There are numerous types of medications that should not be mixed because of life-threatening or fatal side effects or cross-reactions when combined.
  • Allergic reaction to medication. Patients aren’t usually made aware of all of the ingredients in a particular drug. When a patient is erroneously given a prescription that contains a known allergen, the result can be fatal.

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