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Medication error facts

Arkansas residents might be interested to learn that medication errors lead to the injury of 1.3 million Americans each year. A medication error, as defined by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, is a preventable incident that might lead to incorrect use of medication or cause adverse effects to the patient.

According to an online medical resource, the best defense against medication errors or accidental abuse of medication is clear communication. Before a doctor prescribes new medication, a patient should list all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine and dietary supplements they are currently taking to prevent harmful combinations. Patients ought to ask their doctor about key information when given a new prescription such as the name of the drug, the appropriate dosage, correct storage methods and the intended effect. Raising concerns at the doctor's office or the pharmacy is always better than risking a potentially harmful or even deadly medication error.

The Food and Drug Administration collects medication error reports from the U.S. Pharmacopeia, drug manufacturers, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and through MedWatch, the FDA's own reporting system. A six-year FDA study concluding in 1998 found that incorrect dosage lead to 41percent of fatal medication errors. Half of those who died due to medical error were over the age of 60, which is the age bracket that is most at risk.

A personal injury attorney representing a victim of medication error or the family of a patient who has died as a result of such an error may attempt to hold the doctor or pharmacist involved accountable for medical malpractice. Sometimes, a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer is the better course of action, and it may also result in large settlements.

Source: MedicineNet.com, "The Most Common Medication Errors", Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD , November 20, 2014

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