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Self-Care

Rx for Health: How To Avoid Common Prescription Errors


Every year, more than 1,000 cases of prescription errors are reported to the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP). Product confusion, illegible handwriting and unclear directions for use are among the primary reasons for prescription mistakes, USP found.

There are several simple steps today's consumers can take to avoid medication errors, says Dr. John Little, senior vice president of Companion HealthCare. He suggests:

  • Make sure your prescription is legible. If you cannot read the prescription, ask your doctor to print the name of the medication and the directions for taking the medication.

  • Ask questions. You can ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist. Make sure you completely understand your health problems and how the medication is supposed to work.

  • Talk with your pharmacist about the medication. This conversation can help you catch errors that may have occurred when the pharmacist reads and transcribes the written or phone-in prescription.

  • Make sure you use your medication as the directions indicate they should be taken. Medication may not work as well if it is taken in the wrong dosage.

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