Medication Errors

Doctors and hospitals will require patients to use medications to take care of many physical conditions. However, people who fail to use the right medications could be at risk of serious problems. Doctors may cause medication errors that could easily be preventable.

A medication error can occur when a person is given the wrong medication. This may occur because one drug looks physically similar to another or because the medication names or abbreviations may be somewhat similar to one another.

What Happens in a Medication Error?

Also, a patient could also be given more or less of a particular medication than what is needed. This often takes place while the patient is in a hospital room and is unable to measure one’s medication.

Other instances may entail multiple drugs being used at a given time. These include drugs that, when combined, can cause adverse reactions that may be deadly.

Reviewing Medication Interactions

Interactions often develop between medications that work with different physical functions in mind. For instance, two drugs that are used for different procedures may share one common ingredient. A patient who uses both drugs could develop an overdose of that one ingredient, thus leading to potential medical reactions. Medication errors relating to the patient having multiple drugs at once are serious threats that can hurt a person if not controlled quickly.

A Check on the Body

The patient must also be reviewed to see if one can handle a medication. Medication errors occur when hospitals or doctors give medications to the wrong people whose bodies cannot handle them. This is particularly the case for those who have chronic health issues or are pregnant.

Consultations are Required

Patients and doctors not getting in touch with one another cause many errors. They are not informed about the medications they are using and how they are to be administered.

Medication errors can be prevented when a consultation is offered. A doctor can talk with a patient about the ways a medication works, when it needs to be taken and how often it should be used. The doctor must also discuss what interactions may develop while taking medications.

Doctors also have to inform patients about the precautions that must be taken when using medication. This includes what foods should be avoided and how the medication may impair one’s ability to perform particular activities. Details on the side effects, both mild and serious, should also be discussed.

Information on what to do if one forgets to take a dose must also be discussed. Conversely, details on what to do if the patient takes more than the needed dose should also be covered.

Information on any interactions that may be caused by the use of medication must also be discussed. This is particularly for cases where the patient is already taking medications and has to use a brand new one.

What About Serving?

Hospitals that administer medications to patients must also serve them properly. Patients must be informed to do things like not chew pills if they are not required to do this. Also, hospitals have to use the right spoons or other measuring devices to figure out how much is needed.

Also, medications must not be cut up unless it is determined to be safe to handle. Many medications cannot be cut as they may be coated with protective materials to keep a medication lasting as long as possible. Others may also be coated to protect the stomach or make them easier to digest.

All patients must have talks with their doctors to understand what they are getting out of their medications and how to use them properly.

Sources:

http://www.FDA.gov/drugs/drugsafety/medicationerrors/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/medication-errors/art-20048035

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