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How to prevent the wrong prescription from hurting your family

If you've ever taken a prescription medication and wondered if it was the right one, you're one of many patients who has done the same. Prescription mistakes do happen, whether it's because of a doctor prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong medication being filled by pharmacists.

One of the most common issues is a prescription label with the wrong directions on it. It's dangerous, because patients may take more of the drug, or less of it, than they were supposed to. Some drugs have look-a-like spellings and names that make it more likely for pharmacists to make these errors, which is why some drugs may have their names changed at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's request.

It's been estimated that between 1 and 5 percent of all prescriptions that are filled in the United States have an error of some kind. What can you do to help prevent an error from impacting you or your family?

Talk to your doctor first and understand what you should be getting. When you receive the Rx, open the bag and check it at the counter. If something looks off with a medication or you don't recognize something you normally receive, ask. Verify that you've received the right medications. Check the name on your bags, too; pharmacies sometimes mix up patients and dispense the wrong medications to the wrong people.

Next, remember to say yes to counseling when you're asked. Make sure you understand how to take the drug; check what the pharmacist says against what's on the label. You might catch a mistake before it's a danger to you. If you don't, then you do have the opportunity to seek a lawsuit against the doctor or pharmacy for delivering the wrong prescription to you.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "How to Deal With Prescription Mistakes," Lisa Esposito, accessed Oct. 04, 2016

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