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How can prescription errors be limited?

The number of prescription error that occur in the United States on a daily basis may be higher than some may think. From physicians, medical assistants and nurses to pharmacists and other health care professionals, errors can occur anywhere during the prescription process. By understanding how prescription mistakes occur, you can look out for errors and may be able to avoid becoming the victim of a prescription error yourself.

The potential for error begins at the doctor’s office, emergency room or wherever your prescription originates from. Make sure that you understand what drug you are being prescribed and why you are taking it. Don’t be afraid to do your own research on the medication. Find out how the medication is usually prescribed, in what dose, any drug interactions and side effects that you may expect from taking the drug.

If you receive a written prescription, make sure that the doctor has written the order legibly. Let the pharmacy staff know who wrote the prescription and answer any questions they may have. Also, it is crucial to inform the pharmacist of all of the other drugs you are taking so that he or she can check for any potential drug interactions.

Finally, make sure that you receive the right prescription before you leave the pharmacy. Check the drug, dosage and name on the prescription. Look to see if the pharmacy billed your insurance correctly. It is important to check these things before you leave the pharmacy, as it may be harder to fix them once the medication has left the facility.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice. 

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