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What factors lead to incorrect drug prescriptions?

When you receive a prescription from your Indiana doctor after a hospital stay or examination, you should be confident that the prescribed medication is what you need to treat your condition or help you recover without causing you any additional health problems. But sometimes patients can be prescribed the wrong drug. This should not happen, but it does, thanks to a number of factors that can make a health care provider confuse one drug for another.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) points out that similarities in drug names contribute to drug confusion. The name of a prescription medication may look very much like the name of another drug. This can cause a doctor to give a patient the wrong prescription name, or a pharmacy to provide a patient the incorrect drug.  

Sometimes drugs may be confused because the name of a drug is pronounced similarly with the name of another drug. You might be told the name of a drug by your doctor, but when you tell your pharmacist or another doctor the name of the medication, the other party may think you are talking about a different drug altogether.

To reduce the possibility that you will end up with the wrong medication, you should have the name of the drug written down. Do not rely simply on hearing the name of the medication. Before you fill out your prescription, ask your doctor if there are similar drug names that might be confused for your current medication. Also check with a pharmacist or the health care provider you are involved with to confirm the identity of your prescribed drug.

None of these steps relieves your health care providers from their responsibility to verify your medication. In addition to checking out the name and properties of your medication, they should be sure that the drug they prescribe you is meant to treat your specific medical condition.

This article is intended to inform readers about prescription drug errors and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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