Although your doctor and pharmacist are experts in their fields, patients should pay careful attention and ask questions whenever they’re prescribed a medication. Even the best pharmacists make mistakes sometimes, but patients can avoid problems by staying alert and involved in their medical treatment. Here are some questions that you should ask your pharmacist whenever you are picking up a new medication:
1. What is the brand name of this medication? What is the generic name?
The names of some medications sound very similar but might have vastly different effects; pharmacists may accidentally select the wrong one. Pharmacists can also be confused by doctors’ notoriously bad handwriting. Make sure that the medication you receive is the same as the one you discussed with your doctor.
2. What is this medication supposed to do? How long should it take before I see results?
Some medications take effect immediately, while other may take days, weeks, or even months. Pay attention to the effects that you notice and how long they take to appear. If they are significantly different than what you expected, you may have been prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage.
3. What is the dose? What are the instructions for taking it?
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Different doses of medications can have very different effects; many medications can be dangerous if taken at the wrong dose or at the wrong frequency. Clarify the instructions with the pharmacist before leaving with your medication.
4. Does this prescription interact with any other medications that I may be taking? What about over-the-counter drugs?
Some medications can negate each other, or even be dangerous, when combined. Make sure that your doctor is aware of all other medications that you take when writing a prescription for you. The pharmacist can also help inform you about other medications that should not be combined with the medication you are being prescribed, including any over-the-counter drugs.
5. Are there any foods, drinks, medications, or activities I should avoid while taking this?
Many medications cannot be taken with alcohol or other food and drink. Others may inhibit you from doing activities that you normally do. Ask your pharmacist for any instructions or advice.
6. Are there any possible side effects? What should I do if they occur?
Some medications do have normal side effects such as headaches or nausea. However, symptoms like those could be indicators that you have been prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. Be aware of what to expect, and talk to your pharmacist if you experience unanticipated side effects.7. What should I do if I miss a dose or accidentally take more than the recommended dose?
We all make mistakes sometimes when taking medicine. This matters more with some medications than others; ask your pharmacist for specific instructions.
Even the most careful patients can fall victim to a medication error. If you have suffered an illness or injury due to a mistake with your prescription, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Anapol Weiss. Our team has a track record of success advocating for victims of medical negligence.