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Avoiding injury from a pharmacy error

When your pharmacist makes a mistake it can be deadly -- there's a chance that the wrong medication could have no harmful effect on you at all -- but there's a much bigger chance that the wrong medication could interact badly with medications you're already taking, cause you a medical crisis or give you an allergic reaction.

A 10-year study on pharmacy errors concluded that slightly more than 75 percent of pharmacy errors were either the result of the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Of those people reporting injuries, 11.7 percent died.

How can you reduce your odds of being a victim?

1.) Make sure that you know what your prescription pills are supposed to look like. Your doctor can describe them to you, you can look them up online, or ask the pharmacist to describe them to you.

2.) Make certain that what's in the bottle you are given matches the description of the medication you are supposed to be taking.

3.) Check the label. Look for the following information on the bottle:

-- Your name

-- Your address

-- The prescription's name and any alternate names it goes by

-- The dosage amount

-- The number of times you are to take the medication

-- The quantity of the pills in the bottle

-- The number of refills available

-- The prescription number

-- The name of your prescribing physician

Do not leave the pharmacy with your medication unless you have checked the above items.

If the bottle is a sealed manufacturer's bottle, you know the medication inside is what's on the label, but other pills should be examined. If a pill you are familiar with is suddenly a different shape, color, or size, ask the pharmacist for an explanation.

If you were injured due to a medication error at the pharmacy, talk to an attorney about the possibility of a lawsuit to recover for your injuries.

Source: Consumer Reports, "What can I do if the pharmacy gives me the wrong drug?," accessed April 14, 2017

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