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How to avoid common medication errors

Each year, hospital emergency rooms across the United States see roughly 7,000 children injured because of medication errors, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, many senior citizens and other adults in New Mexico and around the country also encounter problems including taking a dangerous mixture of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

While medications do more good than harm, problems can occur when people do not use them correctly, or they do not take them according to the label. However, like pharmacists who work hard to avoid medication errors, consumers can also use common-sense measures regarding medications.

Patients should have a discussion with their doctor when they are given any new medications. The questions should cover the medication's purpose and its side effects and if the medication will have a bad reaction with any vitamins, dietary supplements, herbal remedies or other products the patient is taking. People who are on regular medications may benefit by keeping a list of those medications so their doctor can be aware of them.

Pharmacists also provide a wealth of information regarding medications. When a pharmacist gets to know a patient and is aware of the medications he or she is taking, the pharmacist can provide a warning about medications that pose potential risks such as drug interactions. Patients can also confirm with the pharmacist things like dosing and refill information.

People rely on doctors and pharmacists to provide them with the medications they need. However, sometimes mistakes are made by these professionals, and when negligence results in harm, an affected patient may want to have legal assistance in filing a medical malpractice claim for damages.

Source:DL Online, "Medication safety tips for children and adults", March 14, 2016

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