More than 1.5 million people get severe side effects or become sick in the USA every year because of medication mistakes, and more than 100,000 of them end up dead. These staggering numbers are from the National Center for Health Statistics, and they show that drug mistakes come with severe consequences. However, before you try and figure out how to avoid these errors, the most important thing is to acknowledge some of the common ones that you might be making. Below are a few of these common mistakes.
#1 Mixing Drugs with Wrong Foods/Beverages
What you eat or drink when taking medication matters a lot, so you have to be very careful. However, most people tend to ignore this fact and do not bother to find out the possible food interactions with their medication. Some kinds of food can interfere with drugs, and this can reduce its effectiveness and also cause side effects. Thus it is important to talk to the doctor about possible contraindication and combinations that can be harmful before you start taking a drug.
#2 Taking Wrong Dosage
It is very rare for a trained, licensed doctor to prescribe the wrong dosage, but in most instances it is the patient that gets it wrong. Whether it is out of ignorance or a genuine mistake, it is very common for individuals to take the wrong dose. Doctors tend to write prescriptions in varying units, and they will have them in symbols or abbreviations, which open up room for misunderstandings. A decimal point that is not in the right place or one that is not well visible can easily make you take 10 mg instead of 1.0 mg. Also, it is very common for some individuals to confuse between milligrams and micrograms while many others tend to get the frequency of taking the drugs wrong.
#3 Forgetting or Ignoring to Read the Inserts
The inserts that come with most medications have some long and boring information, so most people will not bother to read them. However, as labor-intensive or time-consuming such reading might seem, it is still vital to learn the complete patient information about the drug. In fact, multiple surveys show that a significant percentage of medication mistakes would not be there if people took some time to read the inserts. These inserts and labels will give you all the information you need to avoid devastating complications and so you should always spare several minutes to read them.
#4 Getting Drugs from Different Pharmacies
The demerit of getting your medications from various drugstores lies in the fact that it becomes difficult to screen any drug interactions because none of the pharmacists will have a complete list of all the medicines you are taking. Although it’s rather your doctor’s responsibility to make sure the drugs he has prescribed you don’t interact with each other, sometimes you may get prescriptions from different doctors. So it is important that you always provide a list of all medicines you are taking when buying another drug. In this case, a professional pharmacist could point out that some drugs you’re going to take are incompatible, thus preventing you from making a mistake.