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What are some common medication dispensing errors?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Personal Injury

Medication is a vital part of healthcare, but mistakes can happen. Dispensing errors in pharmacies are a significant concern for patients. Though often unintentional, they pose risks to patient safety and health.

Dispensing errors can range from incorrect dosages to dispensing the wrong medicine altogether. Awareness of these errors and their implications can be crucial for both healthcare providers and patients.

Dispensing the wrong medication

This can be due to misread prescriptions and look-alike drug names. For instance, Lisinopril should be handed out instead of Loperamide. It can also be due to incorrect selection in an automated system. Taking the wrong medication can lead to adverse drug reactions, ineffective treatment or even hospitalization.

Incorrect dosage

A minor error in dosage can have significant consequences. An overdose can cause toxicity. On the other hand, a lower dosage may render the medicine ineffective.

Labeling errors

Clear instructions are crucial for safe medication use. Incorrect or unclear labels can mislead patients about how to take their medication. Missing information on intake frequency or special instructions can lead to confusion and improper use.

Failing to identify drug interactions

A drug interaction is a change in the way a drug reacts in the body when mixed with certain substances. Some medications can react when taken together. These reactions can either cause unintended side effects or reduce efficacy. A pharmacist should be able to identify potential interactions and alert the patient or prescriber.

Implications and repercussions

Dispensing errors can have dire consequences. Adverse drug reactions from incorrect medications or dosages can lead to hospitalizations. It can also prolong illness and cause death. Medication errors also often require additional medical care. This results in more medical expenses for the patient. Patients who experience these kinds of errors may lose confidence in the healthcare system.

In Kentucky, these errors are taken seriously due to their potential to harm patients. The Kentucky Board of Pharmacy enforces strict regulations to minimize these errors. When errors do occur, the repercussions can be severe. Legal consequences for pharmacists and pharmacies may include fines, license suspension or revocation. In some cases, repeated violations can lead to criminal charges.

When buying medicines, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist about them. Review the medication name, dosage and instructions before leaving the pharmacy. You may also contact your healthcare provider if you have further questions or need clarification regarding your medication.