Even though many people drop their new prescriptions off to be filled at a pharmacy without thinking twice about it, in the small 20 minutes or so that it takes to fill the prescription, errors can happen. Mistakes can occur anytime, however, they are more likely to happen when the pharmacy is busy or when they have just hired on a number of new and unknowledgeable pharmacy techs.
Given Wrong Medication
If you are instructed to take your medication incorrectly or receive the wrong one, it could leave you with serious consequences like injuries or even death. Human error is the main cause of these types of mistakes, and can leave pharmacists liable for negligence. If a mistake does happen and you are injured because of prescription mistakes, you could qualify for financial compensation from the pharmacy you went to. One rule of thumb is to always find out from your doctor the type of medication you are on and the dose that needs to be taken. Also, make sure you know what the pills or capsules look like, and as well as familiarize yourself with the generic medications for the medication you are on. Often, generics are used to fill in prescriptions, which typically work the same way as your brand name prescription, but they are more affordable.
Although educating yourself on the type of medication you are on and the dosage will help reduce errors, it is not likely that you can catch every error. If you suspect the wrong prescription has been given to you, you first want to give your doctor a call to find out if you should seek immediate medical attention and then if not, call and have your pharmacy fix the prescription for you.
Miscommunication between pharmacists, physicians, and nurses are the cause of many medication errors. Barriers in communication need to be eliminated and all prescription information verified. The SBAR method is an effective way to increase communication between team members and is known as situation, background, assessment as well as recommendations.
Incorrect Medication Labeling
The patient is provided information on their prescription through medication labeling, which includes the name, the dose, the times to be taken, any potential drug side effects, and any possible drug interactions from combining with other medications. This labeled information ensures that the medications are used correctly by the patient. Unfortunately, medication mislabeling has been known to happen by pharmacists, and can result in serious harm to the patient and death in some instances.
Putting the wrong medication name on the bottle is a common mislabeling error. When this occurs, the wrong medication can be accidentally taken by the patients. Labeling the wrong dosage information is another common error. This poses a big risk of the patient getting too much medication and overdosing. Also, providing the wrong side effects and potential drug interaction information is another error that can cause patients to suffer debilitating, severe side effects from using the prescription.
Tess Young has been a freelance writer for over 3 years and has experience writing about the pharmaceutical industry. For more information on reputable pharmacy companies and technicians, she recommends visiting Northwest Pharmacy.