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Doing Three Things Can Reduce Your Chances of Getting the Wrong Drug

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law

Patients who take the wrong medicines for various reasons are at risk of suffering serious injuries or even fatal injuries. Because taking the wrong medication is so serious and is easy to do, our lawyers spend a lot of time informing consumers about how to avoid taking the wrong medication. Even if you don’t think you will take the wrong medication intentionally, getting incorrect drugs can occur as a result of a doctor’s inattention, nurse’s carelessness, or pharmacist’s negligence.

Although it might be more difficult for you to prevent receiving the wrong medication in a hospital in Texas, you can help avoid being a victim of a wrong prescription at your local Houston pharmacy. You can do this in the following three ways:

  1. Know Your Medications. This entails having a list of all your current medicines and knowing the name and dosage information of the new drug you were just prescribed. It is best to know as much as you can about each of the different drugs you take—including when to take each pill, why you are taking them, and what the possible side effects are.  
  2. Communicate. Many times patients are afraid to ask their doctors or pharmacists about the medications they are taking, why they are taking them, and what the side effects are. Remember, it is your body and you have a right to stay informed about the medications you are taking. Even if you are considering taking an over-the-counter medication while taking another prescription, don’t be afraid to talk with your pharmacist or doctor about it first. In fact, your pharmacist should know every drug, over-the-counter medication, aspirin, vitamin, and other supplement you are taking in order to help protect you from harm.
  3. Ask Questions. By asking questions, you can help protect yourself from taking the wrong medications or from adverse effects of certain medications. Some of the questions you should ask include:
  • What is the name of the medicine?
  • Why am I taking the medication?
  • When should I take it and how much should I take?
  • What does the medicine look like?
  • What are the side effects of the drug?
  • Are there foods, drinks, or other medications I should avoid while taking the medicine?

By staying informed, being proactive, and asking questions, you have a greater chance of staying healthy and avoiding the wrong medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please share these tips on Facebook with others to help your friends and family prevent taking incorrect prescriptions.