Prescription errors can lead to severe consequences for patients. These errors occur due to various reasons, including miscommunication or lack of attention to detail.
Knowing common types of prescription errors that can put patients in danger can help.
One prescription error is incorrect dosage. This error can result in undermedication, which can be ineffective in treating the patient’s condition.
It can also lead to overmedication, which can cause harmful side effects or even an overdose. Healthcare providers must carefully calculate the right dosage based on the patient’s age, weight and medical history.
Prescribing the wrong medication is a serious problem. This can occur when a healthcare provider confuses similarly named medications or prescribes a medication that the patient is allergic to. Patients may end up taking a medication that does not address their condition or, worse, suffer from adverse reactions.
Failure to identify potential drug interactions is another common error. Many patients take multiple medications at the same time, and certain combinations can lead to complications. Healthcare professionals must thoroughly review a patient’s medication history to avoid prescribing drugs that could negatively interact with one another.
Prescribing the wrong route of administration can also lead to prescription errors. People can medications orally, topically or through other routes. Using the wrong method can compromise the drug’s effectiveness or lead to complications.
Failure to consider allergies
Ignoring a patient’s allergies can result in severe consequences. Healthcare providers must thoroughly assess a patient’s medical history to avoid prescribing medications to which the patient has known allergies.
Incomplete or inaccurate information
Prescription errors can also occur due to incomplete or inaccurate patient information. Poor documentation of a patient’s medical history or failure to update records with relevant information can lead to improper prescribing. Clear and up-to-date patient records are important for accurate prescriptions.
With the costs of American medication errors totaling over $40 billion a year, problems with medications and prescriptions can have a significant effect on budgets. Medical professionals need to uphold the highest standards of patient care and safety within the healthcare system to prevent complications and costs from increasing.