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What steps are you taking to prevent medication errors?

You trust your doctor and pharmacist in Illinois to take proper care of your health, but either of them could accidentally put your health at risk by making a medication error. Do you know how you can help avoid such an unnecessary mistake? 

The Mayo Clinic offers tips on limiting medication error risk. Following these tips may not eliminate your risk entirely, but they can help substantially with advocating for your health and protecting yourself. 

Ask questions

Whenever you receive a new prescription, ask questions: 

  • What side effects should you anticipate? 
  • What is the medication’s generic or brand name? 
  • What side effects can you expect? 
  • Will the medication interact with other prescriptions? 
  • Can your doctor print or electronically send you the prescription details rather than write them down? 

Proper communication between doctor and patient helps make sure that everyone is on the same page. 

Consider medication reconciliation

Do you take multiple medications? If so, look into medication reconciliation to avoid prescription errors. With medication reconciliation, your doctor compares the list of prescriptions you currently take with what she or he has on hand. This strategy helps reduce the chances of patients taking the same prescription, missing medication and experiencing dosing errors. 

Use this strategy every time you change health care providers or health care settings. Keep a current list of all of your medications, your dosage, any supplements or vitamins you take and your allergies. 

Avoid mistakes

Sometimes, patients bear responsibility for their prescription blunders. Double-check your eyedrops to ensure that they are not ear drops, and check the label to see which pills you can chew and which you must swallow. Also, you may need to use a medication measuring cup to take your medication rather than an ordinary spoon that you have at home. 

Should you experience a medication error, you may have a medical malpractice case. Take steps to avoid becoming a victim. 

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