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5 ways to minimize risk of medication errors

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, four out of five Americans take prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs or various supplements every week. Some Ohio residents may take multiple medications at the same time. In fact, around one-third of all adults nationwide take five or more medications simultaneously. This raises the risk for injuries and death sustained by an adverse drug event.

While doctors and pharmacists can do a lot to prevent such incidents, patients must make take an active role as well. There are five tips that patients should take to heart. The first is to know one's own dosage and follow all the instructions regarding dosage. Patients should be aware that dosage levels differ between adults and children. Next, patients must know their height and be honest about their weight as these also help in determining dosage.

The third tip is to use all medications correctly -- using the right spoon, cutting pills, not chewing non-chewable pills etc. Patients may want to store certain medications separately to avoid confusing one with another.

Fourth, they should have an accurate list they can provide doctors with of all the medications they take. Lastly, follow-ups can ensure that patients are not suffering from adverse drug effects that only a lab test can identify, such as liver damage.

As one can see, patients can sometimes be to blame for adverse drug events. They may fail to mention all the drugs they take to their doctor, leading the doctor to prescribe something that causes injury in conjunction with those unmentioned drugs. Other times, doctors may be to blame. In such cases, a victim may file a medical malpractice claim and seek reimbursement for their medical bills, lost wages and non-monetary damages. A lawyer may assist with the filing.

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