Medication mistakes happen in Atlanta and other places around Georgia just like they do around the rest of the country. There are a number of causal factors in these types of errors beginning with issues related to product labeling, packaging and distribution of medications by the manufacturer and distributors. Once the medications are received at the pharmacy or medical facility for distribution to patients, these errors can be compounded if not identified before dispensing the medications. The potential impact to patients from mislabeling and packaging seem obvious but these are not the most prominent types of medication mistakes.
The prescribing physician is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate medications in the right doses are prescribed. There are other considerations that impact a medication’s effectiveness and safety. Things like interactions with other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, dietary interactions and other factors must be evaluated and communicated to the patient. After being prescribed, other medical caregivers who dispense medications to the patient and pharmacists play an essential and sometimes redundant role in ensuring the patient’s safety.
Ten common types of medication errors that can have serious, even deadly consequences
- Double-dosing by taking a brand name drug and generic at the same time: The use of generic drugs are a significant cost saving initiative of insurance companies that can cause confusion resulting in a patient having a generic and formulary version of the same drug.
- Reactions from taking prescription drugs and over-the-counter or alternative medications: Physicians must assess all medications including alternative meds that are taken by a patient to understand the potential interactions.
- Conflicts between medications and diet: Many medications react with different types of food. Patients must be counseled on dietary restrictions during their course of treatment.
- Failure to adjust medication dosage when kidney or liver function is affected: Kidney and liver toxicity are conditions that must be diligently monitored with many medications particularly if the course of treatment is lengthy.
- Medication that is not appropriate for the age of the patient: Not all medications are appropriate for children or elderly patients.
- Confusing two medications with similar sounding names:
- Two or more drugs that magnify each other’s potential side effects: Understanding and communicating the potential effects is the responsibility of the physician, pharmacist and caregivers administering medications.
- Overdosing by combining medications with similar properties: Guarding against overdosing is an essential function of the prescribing physician.
- Mixing Alcohol with medications: Some responsibility for this one rests with the patient but it is up to the physician and pharmacist to issue appropriate warnings about alcohol consumption.
- Getting the dosage wrong:
If you live in Atlanta, Georgia and have been injured due to a medical mistake, please visit the website of Robbins & Associates, P.C. today to learn more.
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