Published on Feb 11, 2011 by Edgar Snyder

Tips to Help You Avoid Dangerous Pharmacy Errors

pharmacy error

When you pick up your prescriptions at the pharmacy, your expectation is that your medication will keep you healthy or make you better. The result can be drastically different, however, if you become a victim of a pharmacy error.

Over the past 20 years, there's been a sharp increase in fatal pharmacy errors. Experts say the reason for this is that much of patient care has shifted outside of hospitals, putting an increased burden on pharmacists. About 3 billion prescriptions are filled at pharmacies every year, and the National Patient Safety Foundation says that about 3 million of them will be dispensed improperly.

So what can you do to avoid becoming one of those 3 million victims? here are some tips from the experts:

Write down your prescription information. This gives you a record of what your doctor prescribed after the prescription has left your hands. You can use it to make sure you've received the correct medications.

Check labels. This may seem obvious, but it's a step many people forget. Make sure your name, medicine, and correct dosage are noted. Sometimes drug names are similar, so look closely. Keep in mind that your pharmacist may switch a brand name drug for a generic one, so always check to see if that's the case.

Open the bottle. It's recommended that you open the bottle while you're at the pharmacy and show your pills to the pharmacist. Ask if that's what you've been prescribed.

Don't get prescriptions filled at the beginning of the month. Research shows that fatalities due to medication errors rise by as much as 25 percent in the first few days of the month. If you can wait to get your medicine, you should.

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