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Prescription drugs, mistakes and preventative methods

Of all the stressors that can come with a trip to the doctor or, in more serious cases, a surgery, patients can have comfort in knowing that proper prescription medications are in order. Despite the fact that this aspect of health care is generally reliable, thousands of patients receive incorrect prescription medications each year. When a Maryland patient suspects that any part of a medication is incorrect — including the type of drug or the dosage — seeking the help of professionals might be a wise step. 

Last July, the American Association of Retired Persons released an article sharing an unsettling fact about the nation’s systems regarding prescription drugs. According to the AARP, medication errors have more than doubled between 2000 and 2012. The study, released from the Food and Drug Administration, extracted data from poison control centers and other resources. The FDA found that 414 deaths occurred as a result of medication errors alone. However, the study’s scope was in regard to people aged under or over 20. When it came to the most common mistake, the AARP states that cardiovascular drugs were the culprit. Medication errors with diabetes drugs were also common. 

Just as with any area in health care, mistakes can and do happen. U.S. News highlighted the issue of prescription mistakes, going as far as to say that one to five percent of prescriptions filled in the country involve errors to some degree. While cardiovascular and diabetes prescriptions issues were most common, U.S. News adds that incorrect labels on pill bottles were likely the biggest type of mistake made in the industry. The article encourages patients nationwide to always inspect prescriptions at the counter; doing so can prevent frightening mishaps due to faulty dosages or wrong medications. And while it may seem to consume too much time, U.S. News also suggests that customers accept prescription counseling. There are many other preventative steps one can take to lower the risks of prescription errors, but general awareness and prescription education appears to be key.