Medication errors: Tips to keep you safe

Medication errors are very common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 82 percent of adults are on at least one medication and 29 percent take five or more. With numbers such as those, it’s no wonder mistakes happen. The CDC also says adverse drug events, which are instances where medication errors cause harm, are responsible for an approximated 700,000 emergency department visits a year.

Some typical medication errors include:

▪ Taking prescription medications that go by different names but include the same ingredients, increasing the risk of overdose

▪ Taking over-the-counter products that contain acetaminophen when you’re already taking a prescription pain medicine that contains acetaminophen, possibly exceeding the recommended dose and increasing the risk of liver damage

▪ Mixing up eye drops with ear drops

▪ Chewing nonchewables

▪ Cutting up pills that should be taken whole

▪ Using the wrong spoon to measure dosage

▪ Missing or doubling up on doses

Why do medication errors happen?

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