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Five Important Steps for Getting the Right Medication

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

People regularly pick up the wrong medication in Texas pharmacies and pharmacies across the nation. While the cause of these pharmacy errors is often negligence or carelessness on the part of pharmacists or doctors, it is in consumers’ best interests to find out how to avoid taking the wrong medications.

How to Protect Yourself

Following are some important steps for making sure that you end up with the right prescription drug:

  1. Gather information. This means that you should know why you have been prescribed a certain medication, the name of that prescription, how to take the drug, and the side effects of the medication.
  2. Read the label. Some prescription errors occur when a pharmacist mixes up pill bottles—giving you medication intended for someone else. Always read the label to make sure your name is on the label and the right drug name and dosage is printed on the label.
  3. Don’t be shy. When it comes to your health and well-being, it is never a good time to be shy. Instead, you need to speak up, ask questions, and be vocal if you are confused about something. This is why taking a pharmacist up on a consultation before you leave the pharmacy is a good idea. In fact, this is the best way to catch a pharmacist’s mistake, if one did occur.
  4. Never accept a prescription that doesn’t seem right. For example, if the pill color or shape looks different than your previous prescription, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist about the medication and whether or not your prescription changed. Or if the label on the prescription bottle doesn’t match the name of the prescription your doctor prescribed, do not trust that the pharmacist got your new drug right. Always ask, ask, ask!
  5. Be your own advocate. Communicate with the pharmacist about the other drugs, vitamins or supplements you are currently taking. If you don’t speak up, the pharmacist may not know that you are taking something that could conflict with the new prescription he or she just filled.

Because taking the wrong medication can cause you to suffer needless injuries or even life-altering consequences, it is important that you follow these steps every time you pick up medication for yourself or anyone in your family. And to help keep others you know safe from a pharmacy error, please share these tips with them on Facebook.