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What are some common causes of medication errors?

It is not uncommon for mistakes to occur during the delivery of healthcare and medications in Indiana. But the impact of those errors can drastically change the lives of some individuals. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each year, the number of people who suffer and die from medication mistakes is 1.3 million. 

Here is a brief overview on how some common medication mistakes occur. 

Adverse reactions 

The cost of medical care and prescriptions is rising at an alarming rate. Many people resort to using over-the-counter drugs and generic brand medications to cut back on costs. Some alternative drugs create adverse reactions when they are taken with other medications and substances, for certain conditions and improperly. To avoid the more severe complications that can occur from adverse reactions, patients should inform their doctors about all symptoms they experience. Doctors should review prescription recommendations with their patients’ histories and medication profiles and explain proper dosage guidelines. 

Lack of communication 

When doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who are responsible for the prescription and administration of medications do not communicate effectively with each other, they put patients at risk. Medical care providers should coordinate their patients’ care to keep them from overlooking issues that can affect their health. They should read their patients' charts, review their medical and medication histories and consult with their patients and their loved ones before making treatment recommendations. 

Improper labeling and confusion 

Many medical professionals confuse medications that have similarly spelled names. They grab and administer wrong medications without double and triple checking their patients' charts and medication labels. 25 percent of "reported medication mistakes" are from label confusion and similar names, states Care.com. This type of mistake is preventable if patients ask their medical providers to review each prescription and discuss why they are necessary. 

Not all people who are victims of medications mistakes suffer. However, the potential for harm is great when those mistakes cause health complications. Patients and medical staff can work together to prevent them from happening.

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