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What should I know about medication errors?

When receiving health care in Louisiana, you expect medical staff to offer safe and effective treatments. However, mistakes can and do occur, including errors in providing medication that may have devastating consequences. Although the quality of your medical care is ultimately the responsibility of the staff, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a life-threatening medication error from occurring.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the root causes of medication errors often involve a few different scenarios. For instance, many drug names sound similar, which can result in confusion among patients and even staff. Also, drug errors can occur in virtually every setting, such as at the pharmacy, within a hospital or clinic or even at home. To this end, communication is an important concern; when medication directives are not clear, the chance of error can increase.

There are a few different types of medication errors you should be aware of. Taking certain drugs together can prove dangerous, especially when taking two different drugs that contain the same ingredients. You might also experience an adverse reaction if the medications you are taking are not meant to be taken concurrently.

In this case, having the right information will enable you to take an active role in your health. Ask your doctor the right questions, such as inquiries about side effects and missed doses. You should also provide a listing of all medications you are currently taking so your doctor will be aware of any potential drug interactions. In the event your doctor provides information you find difficult to comprehend, don’t be reluctant to ask for clarification.