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Understanding the Dangers of Medication Errors

March 16, 2014 R

Mistakes in administering, prescribing, and dispensing medications injure more than one million people per year in the United States. Even more distressing is the fact that most of these medication errors are preventable. Luckily, you can help reduce your risk of suffering a medication error by taking an active role in your health care.

Learn about your medications

You should do as much research as possible on the medications you’re taking, including learning about the potential side effects. If you have any questions or concerns about the medicine, you shouldn’t hesitate to voice your concerns to your pharmacist or doctor. For example, if you are already taking prescription pain medication containing acetaminophen, you need to check how much acetaminophen is in your other medications—both prescription and over-the-counter. This is because taking more than the recommended dosage of acetaminophen can potentially cause liver damage.

Ask your doctor for an explanation

Anytime you don’t understand what your doctor is saying, you need to ask for an explanation. Every time you start a new medication, be sure to find out the generic name, the recommended dosage, and activities or foods to be avoided while taking the medication. You should also ask your doctor about the possible side effects and what to do if you begin to experience a side effect.

Share information with your doctor

Asking questions isn’t enough to ensure you don’t experience any adverse effects from medication. You also need to share information with your doctor each time you get a new prescription. For example, you should tell your doctor the names of each medication you are taking, including any supplements and over-the-counter medications. You should also mention any medication allergies or medicines that you have had problems with in the past.

For more than 40 years, Pegalis Law Group has represented seriously injured individuals and families in the Long Island area. In fact, our medical malpractice attorneys have the distinction of obtaining two of the highest medical malpractice jury verdicts in the state of New York. To schedule a consultation, please call (516) 684-2900.