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How to cut your risk of medication errors

It's possible to reduce your risk of suffering from a medication error by taking proactive steps to protect your safety. As a consumer and patient, your safety is important. You shouldn't have to worry about a pharmacist or doctor making deadly or potentially life-threatening mistakes. These mistakes happen, though, and when they do, you may have to obtain compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim.

The best way to avoid having to go through that legal battle is to be proactive. Knowledge is the key to staying safe, so being aware of the brand name and generic names of the drugs you take is important. Remember that some drugs interact with foods, drinks or other medications, so know what those drug interactions are.

Be aware of possible side effects and what to do if you suffer a serious side effect or allergic reaction. It's not always possible to know what a patient will react to, but if you're given a medication that you've told the medical staff you're allergic to, then that's when you could make a claim. To prevent those kinds of mistakes, double check your medications before you take them and be sure to know what pills should look like and the markings they should have.

If you're concerned about how your medication will interact with others you take, ask your doctor and then double check again with your pharmacist. It's better to check twice than to be unsure about the facts you've been given. If there is a discrepancy, request that the medication is looked up and interactions are noted.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips," accessed June 22, 2016

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