As we age, various medications become a part of daily life. Managing those medications also becomes a part of daily life.
According to Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy at AMCR.org, the three most common dispensing errors are: dispensing an incorrect medication, dosage strength or dosage form; miscalculating a dose; and failing to identify drug interactions or contraindications.
Errors caused by drug administration may be made by the healthcare provider or by the patient themselves.
What can cause the misdosing of medications?
- Sometimes the old joke about a doctor’s handwriting is a valid reason for an error in prescriptions. An often identified cause of error is illegible handwritten prescriptions.
- Dosing errors may result from too little information about other prescribed medications, a lack of record of negative past responses to the drug, and known or unknown allergies to the medication.
- Occasionally, errors in dosing occur when an incorrect drug or dose is prescribed or filled, or when a regimen of taking the medications is too complex for the patient.
- Similar sounding medication brand names can cause confusion when prescriptions are transmitted orally. Some drugs sound the same but have very different uses.
- Sometimes, the misdosing occurs because a prescription is never transmitted to the patient’s pharmacy (or transmitted incorrectly), or the prescription is never filled or picked up by the patient.
With that in mind, and recognizing we all will get older and probably require some sort of medication, here are some helpful tips for taking and tracking your medications – or those of your loved one.
- Do take medications as prescribed. Read all dosing details on your prescription bottles and the information sheet that comes with it thoroughly.
- Do take the proper prescribed dosage. In the case of medications, more isn’t necessarily better! In fact, more can be a real danger. Too little medication and the effectiveness will vary widely.
- Do take the medication on time. Medications are developed to work a certain way with your body chemistry. Always take your meds at the time of day they are prescribed. Many evening meds cause drowsiness and are not safe to take during the day.
- Do be transparent about your lifestyle and medications. Medications often interact with other medications to work best, but sometimes, medicines can conflict with each other and cause unintended outcomes. Be clear with your physicians about all medications, supplements, or enhancements you are taking and keep a list of medications handy for appointments.
- Do have an up-to-date list of your medications. Your pharmacy can easily print a copy for you to carry in your purse or wallet. Keep a copy where caregivers can easily find it and update it whenever your prescriptions change.
- Do dispose of all outdated medications or medications you are no longer taking at a safe drug dropoff site. Do not wash drugs down the toilet or sink or throw them into the garbage as they can have an effect on wildlife and groundwater.
- Don’t take medications “by feel.” Entirely different medications can have the same shape and size tablet, so be sure you LOOK at your meds before taking them to be sure you aren’t taking more or less than prescribed.
- Don’t ever share prescription drugs – even if the names and dosages are the same.
- Don’t stop taking your medications cold turkey.
- Don’t hesitate to call your doctor right away if you develop any symptoms, rashes, trouble breathing, or other unusual symptoms.
First Care Home Services nurses and care providers are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and, most importantly, ensure your loved one has the tools they need to live safely and comfortably at home.
Contact Us here or give us a call if you need our help in the Miami Dade or Broward county areas. We strive to return calls within 30 minutes so you can get started with the services you need. Call today: 305-945-9025.