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Avoiding medication errors in 5 simple steps

A third of adults in Georgia and across the U.S. simultaneously take five or more medications at least once a week, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. This translates to a high risk for medication errors as some drug combinations can create adverse effects. Adverse drug events are known to cause injuries and sometimes death. Below are five tips that medical professionals give to minimize risks.

The first is to use all medications correctly. This means following instructions and never cutting pills without a doctor or pharmacist saying it is safe to do so. The second is to know one's own dosage level. This amount varies with children and adults, the Mayo Clinic says, and it even differs with one's weight and height. The third tip is to be honest and accurate when giving body measurements.

Fourth, patients should have an updated list of all the medications they take. Without this, a doctor may prescribe a drug that causes an adverse effect, and he or she will not be to blame for it. Lastly, patients should schedule follow-up appointments with their doctors to ensure the efficacy of their treatments as well as the absence of adverse side effects. Some side effects can, after all, only be discovered by lab tests.

Unfortunately, patients cannot prevent all errors by being vigilant on their part. Doctors and pharmacists can make mistakes that indicate a failure to uphold objective standards of medical care. In such cases, someone who has been harmed by a medication error may pursue a medical malpractice case. It might be wise to consult an attorney because a victim could find it difficult to gather evidence and negotiate a fair amount in damages on their own. An attorney may start with a case evaluation.

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