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What are the most common causes of prescription errors?

Prescription errors are very common, which is unsettling because they are almost always completely avoidable. Human errors are usually the cause. 

According to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, prescription errors can occur on all levels with the patient, doctor or pharmacist. 

Patient errors

There is a potential for you to cause a prescription error by not providing your doctor or pharmacist with correct information about other medications you are taking, even those you take that are over-the-counter drugs or natural remedies. You also need to make sure to disclose any medication allergies or previous adverse reactions to medications. 

It is also important that you understand and know all medications the doctor is prescribing to you. Make sure to ask questions and verify the information. When you are aware, you are better able to catch mistakes made by others in the process. 

Doctor errors

Your doctor could make a prescription error by prescribing the wrong dose or confusing similar sounding medication names. He or she could also cause issues by giving you samples of medications instead of going through the pharmacy. 

Pharmacist errors

Pharmacist errors often happen due to illegible prescriptions. This used to be a bigger issue with handwritten prescriptions. It is easy to confuse dosage amounts or even drug names when they are not clear, and if the pharmacist does not verify unclear prescriptions, it can lead to mistakes. 

Another issue is with prescriptions your doctor calls into the pharmacy. It is often easy to misunderstand drug names that sound similar or to have other misunderstandings when there is no written confirmation.