5 Things Doctors Can Do to Avoid Dosage Errors in Texas
When you suffer a medication error, you're probably thinking about getting better rather than how it happened. But the sad fact is that there's a long chain of events that led you here-and your doctor's office is where it started.
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The American Society of Hospital Pharmacists suggests a few ways physicians can avoid dosage errors when writing drug orders:
All prescriptions should be complete. A drug order with only a name, drug, and dosage is only half-done. Your doctor should also include the generic drug name, mode of use (capsule vs. injection) site of administration (oral or topical), strength, quantity, frequency, and his own name. It also helps to include what the drug is for on the prescription label.
Avoid abbreviations. While many doctors may abbreviate a dosage "q.d.," it could easily be mistaken for "q.i.d"-turning a daily prescription into one that is taken four times a day. In addition, not all pharmacies use the same standard for abbreviations, so writing out the full instructions in words is always best.
Do not use "take as directed." The prescription in the package may have different dosage instructions than your doctor intends. For example, 25mg of Zoloft is just half of one pill-and the patient is expected to break the tablet in two. Labels should specify dosage strengths in milligrams rather than units such as "one pill."
Use the metric system. The easiest way to avoid overdose is to be wary of mathematical error. To be sure the decimal point will not be misplaced, doctors should use a leading zero before it (such as 0.5 ml) and never use a terminal zero after it. By adding a zero behind the dosage, the dosage could be read as 5.0 ml and result in a tenfold overdose. To be extra cautious, avoid using decimals when possible (such as these injections: 500 ml, 25ml, etc).
Avoid "u." If the drug is taken in units, always write out the full word "units" rather than abbreviating with a "u," which could be taken for a zero.
As experienced Texas pharmacy error attorneys, we know that with a little careful planning, many of these kinds of errors can be avoided. Doctors can put safeguards in place to protect patients in the future-but they must also take responsibility for the mistakes they have made in the past.
If someone you love has been the victim of a medication overdose in Houston, call Kennedy Hodges at 888-526-7616 today to get started on your free consultation.