Know Your Medicines

PART 2 - Understand Your Medicines Series
Medication Errors

An unwanted or side effect of a medication or therapy is that which occurs in addition to its intended effect. Most side effects are not serious and go away on their own, others can be more bothersome and even serious.

One of the major reasons for a side effect from any medication is "Medication Errors".

    Medication errors can occur due to the following reasons:
  • Prescribing errors like illegible handwriting of the doctor.

  • Failure to prescribe or administer the correct drug or formulation for a particular disease or condition.

  • Confusion about different drugs with similar names.

  • Any incorrect or wrongful administration of a medication, such as a mistake in dosage or route of administration of the drug.

  • Use of outdated drugs

  • Lack of awareness of side effects of certain drug given in combination with other drugs, food or alcohol (Drug interactions).

  • Lack of information about a patient's drug allergies or sensitivities. Due to problems of communication between doctor and the patient.

The more you know about your medicines and the more you talk with your health care provider, the easier it is to avoid problems with medicines.
So What Can You Do?

  • Inform your doctor about the medicines you are already taking.

  • Inform your doctor about any allergy and side effects you have had to medicines.

  • When your doctor writes a prescription, make sure you can read it.

  • Know the following about the medication prescribed to you by the doctor:

    • What is the medicine prescribed for?

    • How you are suppose to take it, and for how long?

    • What side effects can commonly occur?

    • What food, drink, or activities you are suppose to avoid while taking the prescribed medicine?

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