Prescription medications help treat conditions, manage symptoms and reduce pain. However, prescription mistakes are extremely common in the health care community, and medication errors may cause severe consequences for patients. Prescription errors may happen in numerous areas of the medical community, from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy. Another common issue with prescription medications is adverse drug reactions, which may occur even when a patient takes a drug as prescribed.
According to Forbes, many prescription errors occur within computer programs. Electronic health records have become commonplace throughout the Americal medical system, and many doctors use EHR-based tools to replace traditional paper prescription pads. However, mistakes frequently occur. Prescriptions may become incorrect or dangerous through a simple typo or misclick that indicates the wrong type of drug or an incorrect dose. Another common cause of prescription errors is a failure to account for changes in a patient’s circumstances. Some drugs have dangerous side effects that only occur under certain conditions. If a doctor misses the point at which a patient’s status changes in a way that makes a drug unsafe, there may be life-threatening consequences.
U.S. News and World Report provides a list of ways to potentially reduce the risks of taking prescription drugs. In many cases, adverse side effects occur frequently right after a drug enters the market. Even drugs that have FDA approval may end up causing unforeseen side effects that require a response. Sometimes medicines get taken off the market or need updates to their warnings. U.S. News advises patients to avoid taking new drugs until several years after the initial FDA approval. Consulting with a pharmacist before changing medications may allow patients to avoid the effects of prescription errors.