There are thousands of different prescription drugs, and each of them carries its own unique side effects and medical consequences. Many of these drugs can be incredibly beneficial when properly prescribed and administered as necessary to a person with a specific medical condition.
Unfortunately, mistakes when prescribing drugs can lead to drastically worse outcomes for patients and a broad range of medical complications. Given that your doctor has years of extra schooling, you might assume but they won’t make a mistake when prescribing your drugs, but it is still a risk. Why do prescribed medication errors happen?
A prescribing physician may not know someone’s current regimen
If you currently take several different prescriptions, some of which come from a physician other than the doctor prescribing the new drug, it’s possible that your physician doesn’t know all of the medications that you take. They could recommend a new drug that interacts dangerously with another medication you take.
Even if you provided the office with a list of your medications, the physician may not have reviewed the list thoroughly or might have forgotten one of the medications on it. Reminding your doctor briefly of the drugs you currently take and asking about the potential for interactions could catch a mistake before you take the first dose.
A doctor could prescribe the wrong dosage or timing
Some prescription drug mistakes don’t happen due to a potential interaction with another drug. Instead, they occur because the doctor doesn’t properly administer the drug to you. They might recommend the wrong dose based on your age or weight, or a timing schedule for taking the drug that increases your risk of negative health consequences.
A nurse or pharmacist might give you the wrong medication
Whether you receive the drug directly in an inpatient medical setting or pick it up from a pharmacy, it’s possible to get the wrong drug, which could cause many different problems. Not only could taking the wrong medication lead to side effects, drug interactions and other medical issues, but failing to take the necessary medication could impact your course of treatment.
Checking your medication before you take it, asking questions and generally trying to advocate for yourself in medical settings can reduce your risk of medication errors. However, even with the utmost diligence, patients can still become victims of medical malpractice.
If you or someone you love got hurt because of a medication mistake, you may have grounds to bring a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or pharmacist involved.