It is important when using medication to speak with your doctor about possible complications in order to avoid health problems that result from medication errors. Over a million people are injured every year as a result of wrongly prescribed, dispensed, or administered medications. It is important to take personal responsibility and learn as much as you can about the medications that you are using. You should also take care to pay attention to how the medications are affecting your body and mood, both positively and negatively. If you have a question, you should never delay before speaking with your doctor or pharmacist in order to clear up any misunderstandings.
A medication error is a preventable series of events that leads to somebody using their medication improperly. When a medication error results in an injury or a health problem it is referred to as an adverse drug effect. On example of a medication error would be if you were taking two antibiotics when you were already using a blood thinner. Since antibiotics can also thin your blood, this could potentially lead to a situation in which your blood is too thin, and you are unable to stop bleeding in the event of an injury. Another example would be if you were to take a non-prescription painkiller as well as a prescription painkiller that contains the same drug, causing you to exceed the recommended dosage and risk damaging your liver.
While it is true that medication errors can occur anywhere, it is more common that they occur either at the doctor's office, the hospital, or the pharmacy. On average, a person can expect to be on the receiving end of a medication error once for every 24 hours they spend in a hospital. This can be expected to vary greatly depending on the quality of the health care facility, but having knowledge of the most common errors can drastically reduce your chances of having it happen to you.
The most common causes of medication errors are miscommunications between different people providing you with health care, and miscommunications between you and your health care providers. Other causes are similarly named medications, unreadable prescriptions, and hard to understand directions.
Communication goes both ways, of course. If your doctor or health care provider tells you something that you do not understand, make sure that you have them clarify it for you. When your health and safety is at stake, you cannot let embarrassment or a fear of looking stupid prevent you from gaining the understanding that you need. Here are a few of the terms that may be used when you speak with your doctor. An adverse effect is an undesirable, possibly dangerous, effect caused by using the medication. A side effect is an unintended effect of the medication on your body or mind. Unlike an adverse effect, a side effect may not necessarily be bad. A medication that helps you with diabetes, for example, may have the side effect of causing you to lose excess weight. When doctors talk about side effects, however, they are usually talking about the adverse effects. Finally, drug interaction is the way that a medication alters or is altered by the use of a secondary medication, drug, food, beverage, or supplement. These interactions can either diminish the positive effects of a drug, or create adverse effects.
It is important to ask questions before taking a medication. You need to understand what the exact name of the product is so that you don't end up with the wrong one. You should know what it does and how long it takes, the dosage, things you should avoid while on it, side effects, and so on.