You should have confidence that the medicine your doctor prescribes for you will not only treat your condition, but that the medicine is safe for use. Some patients suffer dangerous side effects because they took the wrong medicine. Other medication errors may also endanger your health.
Your physician bears responsibility for giving you the right medicine and instructing you how to use it. Still, as the Mayo Clinic explains, there are actions you can personally take to minimize the chance of errors with your medication.
Clarify that your medicine is accurate
Sometimes doctors or pharmacists confuse one type of medicine for another. This may happen because of similar medicine names or abbreviations. If a doctor handwrites a prescription, a pharmacist might misjudge the medicine name. If you receive a prescription, ask the name of your medicine and its intended purpose so you know what to expect.
Your doctor may further assist you by entering in the prescription on a digital device like a tablet or a laptop instead of handwriting it. This should reduce the chance of confusing the medicine name.
Clarify how to take the medicine
There are many details involved with taking medicine. They include, but are not limited to the following:
- How much in dosage you should take
- How many doses you should ingest per day
- How your medicine may interact with food and other drugs
- Where you should store the medicine
It is possible your doctor might omit one or more of these facts when talking with you. Ask your doctor about any detail important to taking your medicine.
Inquire about possible health risks
Be on alert for ways your medicine might negatively affect you. Ideally, your doctor should inform you about health risks or the label on your medicine bottle will describe them. Still, you should ask what might happen if you miss a dose, take more than a recommended dose, or about possible side effects from taking the medicine.
Check your prescription at the pharmacy
Some pharmacists give a customer the wrong prescription. Be sure before you leave a pharmacy that you have the correct bottle. Look for details on the bottle label like your treating doctor and the name of the medication. It may also help to keep using the same pharmacy for all of your medications if you can.