Common causes of medication errors

There are several ways that prescription errors can occur, from the time a medication is prescribed until it is filled.

When people pick their prescription up from the pharmacy, they trust that the medication they have been prescribed and dispensed is the correct drug for their particular ailment. What many people do not understand, however, is the room for error in prescribing, filling, dispensing and selling a drug to a patient. The trusted professionals responsible for ensuring you receive the right medication may make mistakes. It is crucial that people remain aware of what they are taking and research to make sure they are getting the right drug and to avoid medication errors.

Prescribing errors

Physicians, psychiatrists and other medical professionals who are able to prescribe medications have a great responsibility to their patients. Not only must they provide an accurate diagnosis of the patient's condition, but they must prescribe the right drug as well. Each drug comes with specific side effects and can cause adverse reactions. It is up to the prescriber to make sure that the patient is not allergic to the medication and that the adverse effects will not cause a serious reaction. Since every patient is different, the prescriber must also make sure that the medication does not interact with any other medications the patient is taking.

Once a drug is chosen, the doctor's office must call, fax, write or electronically prescribe the medication to the pharmacy. In some cases, the person calling in the prescription may read the directions wrong, call in the wrong strength or inadvertently say the wrong medication. Drugs, such as Celexa and Celebrex or Clonidine and Klonipin can sound or look similar, and may be confused with one another. The strength of a medication may be written as 0.15mg but misinterpreted as 15mg, which could lead to a potential overdose with some medications.

Dispensing errors

If the prescription does make it to the pharmacy correctly, the pharmacy team may make an error. Although there are several safeguards in place to avoid dispensing errors, they may still occur. The prescription may be typed incorrectly, or the wrong drug may be placed in the bottle with the correct label. A prescription may be typed under the wrong patient, or a patient may leave the pharmacy with another person's medication. Rather than taking a drug for high blood pressure, the patient may be taking a seizure medication or a central nervous system depressant.

Exploring your options

If you are the victim of a prescription error, you may be looking for answers to your questions. You may suffer serious repercussions from the negligence of another. An attorney in Michigan may be helpful in exploring the details surrounding your case and looking for legal options. You may be eligible for compensation.