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The most common pharmacy errors you may see

Nobody's perfect, right? That's not a bad thought -- unless you're talking about someone whose mistakes could literally mean life or death for another human being. Pharmacists have to exercise considerable care during their daily work because a single mistake can be devasting.

Unfortunately, pharmacists have so much reason to fear the consequences of a mistake that they may try to hide their errors -- even when someone gets hurt. As a patient or the caretaker of a patient, it's always wise to be on the watch for these common pharmacy errors:

  1. Mistaking a teaspoon for a tablespoon and inadvertantly tripling the dosage on a medication's directions
  2. Under-dosing, or accidentally directing a patient to take too little of a certain drug -- which can be just as dangerous for patients with certain conditions, like high blood pressure, as an overdose
  3. Dispensing a fast-acting drug instead of a slow-release drug, such as fast-acting insulin, which can cause dangerous and unexpected reactions in some people
  4. Dispensing a "like-name" drug instead of the intended prescription, such as giving a patient the painkiller codeine instead of the steroid lodine
  5. Dispensing a "look-alike" drug, which can happen with generics that tend to be all-white and easily confused for other all-white pills of the same general size and shape
  6. Calculation errors when a drug is compounded to a specific formula or has to be pre-mixed by the pharmacist before dispensing
  7. Excessive dosages, where the doctor prescribes too much but the pharmacist should have recognized the error
  8. Dispensing a medication to a patient with a known allergic reaction to some component in that drug
  9. Dispensing medication that, in combo with other medications the patient is using, turns lethal.

Pharmacy errors can be devastating to victims. If you or your loved one has suffered from a medication error, find out what legal options you can take.

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