Cut your risk of medication errors with these tips

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Top-of-the-line methods to cut back your danger of a medicine error is to take an lively position in your individual well being care. Be taught in regards to the drugs you are taking — together with potential negative effects. By no means hesitate to ask questions or share considerations along with your well being care supplier, pharmacist and different well being care suppliers.

What precisely are treatment errors?

Remedy errors are preventable occasions because of the inappropriate use of medicines. Remedy errors that trigger hurt are known as preventable opposed drug occasions. If a medicine error occurred, however did not damage anybody, it is known as a possible opposed drug occasion.

An instance of a medicine error is taking an over-the-counter product that accommodates acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) once you’re already taking a prescription ache medication that accommodates this precise ingredient. This error might trigger you to take greater than the beneficial dose of acetaminophen, placing your self vulnerable to liver injury.

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One other instance of a potential treatment error is taking a despair treatment known as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) with a migraine drug known as sumatriptan (Imitrex). Each medicines have an effect on ranges of a mind chemical known as serotonin. Taking them collectively could result in a doubtlessly life-threatening situation known as serotonin syndrome. Signs of the harmful drug interplay embody confusion, agitation, speedy heartbeat and elevated physique temperature, amongst others.

How do treatment errors occur?

Remedy errors can occur to anybody in anywhere, together with your individual residence and on the well being care supplier’s workplace, hospital, pharmacy and senior residing facility. Youngsters are particularly at excessive danger for treatment errors as a result of they usually want totally different drug doses than adults.

Realizing what you are up in opposition to might help you play it protected. The commonest causes of treatment errors are:

  • Poor communication between your docs
  • Poor communication between you and your docs
  • Drug names that sound alike and drugs that look alike
  • Medical abbreviations

Know tips on how to stop treatment errors

Data is your finest protection. In the event you do not perceive one thing your physician says, ask for an evidence. Everytime you begin a brand new treatment, be sure you know the solutions to those questions:

  • What’s the model or generic identify of the treatment?
  • What’s the treatment alleged to do? How lengthy will or not it’s till I see outcomes?
  • What’s the dose? How lengthy ought to I take it?
  • What ought to I do if I miss a dose?
  • What ought to I do if I unintentionally take greater than the beneficial dose?
  • Are there any meals, drinks, different drugs or actions I ought to keep away from whereas taking this medication?
  • What are the potential negative effects? What ought to I do in the event that they happen?
  • Will this new treatment intrude with my different treatment(s)? If that’s the case, how?

Your well being care supplier might help stop treatment errors through the use of a pc to enter and print (or digitally ship) any prescription particulars, as an alternative of hand writing one.

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Take part in treatment reconciliation

Asking questions is important, however it is not sufficient. Your well being care suppliers can observe a course of known as treatment reconciliation to considerably lower your danger of treatment errors.

Remedy reconciliation is a security technique that includes evaluating the checklist of medicines your well being care supplier at present has with the checklist of medicines you’re at present taking. This course of is finished to keep away from treatment errors reminiscent of:

  • Lacking drugs (omissions)
  • Duplicate drugs
  • Dosing errors
  • Drug interactions

Remedy reconciliation ought to be accomplished at each transition of care through which new drugs are ordered or present orders are rewritten. Transitions in care embody modifications in setting (reminiscent of being admitted or discharged from the hospital), well being care supplier or stage of care.

Sharing your latest info along with your well being care suppliers offers the clearest image of your situation and helps keep away from treatment errors.

Here is what it is advisable inform your well being care suppliers:

  • The identify and energy of all drugs you are taking and once you take them, together with prescription drugs, herbs, nutritional vitamins, dietary dietary supplements, over-the-counter medication, vaccines and something acquired intravenously, together with diagnostic and distinction brokers, radioactive drugs, feeding tube dietary supplements and blood merchandise
  • Any drugs that you just’re allergic to or which have precipitated issues for you previously
  • Whether or not you’ve gotten any power or critical well being issues
  • In the event you could be pregnant otherwise you’re making an attempt to grow to be pregnant

Keep away from these errors

The next treatment errors have occurred to some folks. Do not make these identical errors:

  • Complicated eardrops and eyedrops. At all times double-check the label. If a medicine says “otic,” it is for the ears. If it says “ophthalmic,” it is for the eyes.
  • Chewing nonchewables. Do not assume chewing a capsule is nearly as good as swallowing it. Some drugs ought to by no means be chewed, reduce or crushed. Doing so could change how they’re absorbed by the physique.
  • Slicing up tablets. By no means cut up tablets until your physician or pharmacist has instructed you it is protected to take action. Some drugs should not be reduce as a result of they’re specifically coated to be lengthy performing or to guard the abdomen.
  • Utilizing the mistaken spoon. The spoons in your silverware drawer aren’t measuring spoons. To get an correct dose, use an oral syringe (obtainable at pharmacies) or the dose cup that got here with the treatment.

Make security a behavior

Get into the behavior of taking part in it protected with these treatment ideas:

  • Preserve an up-to-date checklist of all of your drugs, together with nonprescription medication and dietary supplements.
  • Retailer drugs of their authentic labeled containers.
  • Preserve your drugs organized through the use of a pillbox or an automated capsule dispenser.
  • Save the knowledge sheets that include your drugs.
  • Use the identical pharmacy, if potential, for all your prescriptions.
  • While you decide up a prescription, examine that it is the one your physician ordered.
  • Do not give your prescription treatment to another person and do not take another person’s.

A remaining phrase on treatment errors

“Do not ask, do not inform” isn’t a sensible coverage in relation to drugs and your well being. Do not hesitate to ask questions or to inform your well being care suppliers if something appears amiss. Bear in mind, you are the ultimate line of protection in opposition to treatment errors.

If regardless of your efforts you’ve gotten issues with a medicine, speak along with your well being care supplier or pharmacist about whether or not to report it to MedWatch — the Meals and Drug Administration security and opposed occasion reporting program. Reporting to MedWatch is simple, confidential and safe — and it could assist save others from being harmed by treatment errors.

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