Errors in applying medication can happen both at home or in a hospital setting. Given the possibly tragic consequences of such errors, it’s vital that all possible effort is made to ensure they do not happen. Most errors in medication are due to seemingly harmless missteps in adhering to clearly articulated procedures.
The following easy-to-follow tips can help you minimize the risk of mistakes in taking medication.
We place a tremendous amount of trust in doctors and other healthcare professionals. And for good reason. They are highly trained in their craft and have far greater medical knowledge than the average person. Nevertheless, when it comes to medication, you should err on the side of caution.
As the doctor starts to detail the drugs you’ll need, take time to note down the name of the drug, the dose and any specific instructions on its administration. In the overwhelming majority of instances, the doctor will write this down for you. Having your own notes however serves as a backup just in case the doctor forgets something or if there’s a contradiction between what they say and what they write down (in which case you can seek clarification).
Check Medication Against Prescription
Whether you buy the medication from a local pharmacy or order from an online pharmacy like PriceProPharmacy and have it delivered to you, always compare the medication against the doctor’s prescription and the notes you took. The drug name, concentration, dose and application instructions must match.
Any credible pharmacy is unlikely to deliberately give you the wrong medication so this entire process is verification to pick out any unintentional mishaps. If you see any inconsistency or variation, get in touch with your healthcare provider to confirm whether it’s acceptable.
Different medications have different storage requirements meant to protect their potency. Certain antibiotics, insulin and a number of other drugs must be refrigerated. Suppositories have to be kept in a cool place so they don’t become too soft. Do not leave nitroglycerin in the sun.
These are just examples so you have to confirm each mediation’s storage instructions with the pharmacist. One common rule of drug storage though is to always keep medication in its original containers. It may feel convenient to move pills to a container that seems to be in good shape but this could get confusing over time as you struggle to tell the pills apart.
Administer the Right Dose
This sounds blatantly obvious. It isn’t though. For instance, if the right dose of the medication is one teaspoon, some may choose to use a stirring spoon or a baking measuring spoon. While they may not appear much different, there’s in fact a significant variation in size that would unintentionally alter the dose. For liquid medications, virtually all manufacturers now provide a measuring device in the form of a spoon or cup.
Dosage problems aren’t limited to liquid medication. Pills can be problematic too. Like a prescription that requires you to swallow half a tablet. You could easily split the pill in half with your hands or teeth but will be unlikely to end up with two equal halves. A pill splitter from your pharmacy could ensure a much safer and more accurate result.
Use the Right Method
If a medication is to be administered orally, you have to swallow it. However, not everyone is comfortable swallowing pills whole. In such cases, people have resorted to breaking into pieces or crushing the tablet. If the taste feels unbearable, some patients will go to the extent of mixing the drug with applesauce or something similar. This is wrong.
Some drugs are designed as extended release meaning once they are ingested, they are broken down and absorbed slowly. By crushing such pills, much larger quantities of the medication will be absorbed than should be. If you have problems with swallowing a tablet or can’t stand the taste, find out from your doctor if there are more palatable alternatives they could prescribe.
By following these tips, you will ensure your safety while realizing the comfort and cure the medication is meant to deliver.