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There are many medical errors that take place in the United States, but some happen more regularly than others. Around 1.3 million people suffer every year as a result of medical errors, so identifying and reporting the errors is very important to the future welfare of patients. A study performed by the Food and Drug Administration showed that the most common errors were a result of giving patients improper medication dosages, the wrong medication or delivering the medication through the wrong route of administration. Those over the age of 60 are most at risk due to taking multiple medications a day; it’s most vital for this age group to keep informed about their medications and dosages.

The important thing to remember is that these errors can be prevented. Patients can play a role in that prevention directly by asking questions. For example, if a doctor is prescribing you a medication, ask what it looks like, what dose you should take and how often it should be taken.

When you pick the medication up at a pharmacy, it’s okay to ask the same questions to verify that you’ve received the correct medication and dosage. If there’s a discrepancy, then you can have the pharmacist and doctor talk to one another to work it out before you have a chance to be affected by the medication error.

Always be upfront about the medications and supplements you take, too. If you aren’t, then you could find that something prescribed to you interacts with something you already take, which can lead to overdoses, severe side effects and other problems. If you do suffer because a doctor prescribes you an inaccurate dose or a pharmacy makes an error, a medical malpractice lawsuit could be an option.