When people take pick up their prescriptions at a local pharmacy, or have their medications delivered in the mail, they assume they are being given the correct drug, with an accurate strength and dosage. Hopefully, the medication will not interact with any of their other prescriptions or they will not have an allergic or adverse reaction to the drug based on their past history. All of these things should be in place to ensure people receive a medication that will be therapeutic and beneficial to their needs. Yet, drug errors occur more often than some people may think, and these mistakes can lead to serious injuries and even death.
Medication errors can occur anywhere during the process of filing a prescription. The physician may inadvertently prescribe the wrong drug, or the nurse may phone in the wrong medication, dosage or directions when calling the prescription into the pharmacy. For example, if the nurse calls in for 25mg of medication when the doctor wrote for 2.5mg, the results could be catastrophic. If the prescription reaches the pharmacy properly, the pharmacist or pharmacy technician may type the information incorrectly. They may also dispense the wrong medication or give the wrong patient the wrong drug.
Pharmacists and physicians are responsible for catching any adverse reactions or clinical interactions that may occur due to a patient’s current drug regimen or medical history. If these are missed, a serious interaction may occur. All of these medical professionals work together to ensure patients receive the correct medication. Yet, it is essential that patients are proactive, look at their medications and ask questions if they are unsure of the drugs.