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What can I do to ensure proper prescription use?

As our various blog posts about medical malpractice suggest, medical professionals are too often the cause of preventable health issues and medical complications. One type of those preventable health problems can be prescription drug errors. 

While doctors and pharmacists certainly hold a great responsibility to live up to a proper standard of care, patients can try to help mitigate the potential for drug errors by asking certain questions regarding their prescriptions. The following is a brief list of knowledge that might help patients avoid health complications tied to medicine mistakes:

Know the proper name of your prescription

While it is understandable that most of us do not have a medical degree, it is still important for us to know the name of our prescription, not just what it looks like or what it does. The appearance of a prescription can vary, and there are usually various drugs that treat similar conditions. So when you are filling your prescription, picking it up, or talking to your doctor about the drugs you take, know the name. Don't guess or assume that your doctor or pharmacist will guess the right drug you are on without clarity on the name. This is most important when seeing a new doctor or medical provider.

Know the proper way to take your prescription; follow the directions

Talk to your doctor and your pharmacist about the proper way to take your prescription. Directions are often more complicated than "take this pill once a day." The timing and duration details about when to take a drug can significantly impact your health and healing. Another aspect of knowing how to take your prescription is knowing how to take it with other drugs you might need. Your doctor and pharmacist should guide you on how to use various drugs together (or not) in order to avoid further health complications. 

These are just a couple of tips on how to try to take some power into your own hands to try to avoid medication problems. A next post will continue this topic with more prescription drug advice. 

 

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