Your doctor prescribes medications to improve your health and manage symptoms from a disease or injury. Prescribing medication safely requires attention to detail and knowledge of your current and past health conditions. When vital information slips through the cracks, medical practitioners can make detrimental errors. Here are three critical signs your medications could be putting your life at risk.
1. You Notice a Physical Change
When you take the same medication daily, it’s easy to stop paying attention to the small details like pill shape, size, and color. However, a physical change to your medication when you pick up a refill might be a sign of a dangerous error.
Medication manufacturers compound drugs in different shapes and sizes for reasons besides marketability. The FDA requires each drug to be identifiable and distinguishable from other drugs based on size, shape, color, and imprint. When pharmacists fill prescriptions for patients, they must check inside the vial to ensure the pill inside matches the prescription.
If you notice a sudden change in the appearance of your daily medications, you should check with your pharmacist. The change may be due to a different manufacturer or a switch from a brand-name product to a generic substitute. However, it could be a sign that you were given the wrong medication due to an act of omission or negligence by the pharmacist. If you take the wrong prescription, you not only put yourself at risk by failing to treat a chronic medical condition, but you also expose yourself to side effects from an unknown medication, especially one that might have negative reactions to another medication you take.
2. You Feel a Bit “Off”
Everyone responds to medications differently. Some people may feel fine taking a particular prescription medication, while others are constantly nauseous or tired. Some common, minor side effects are expected when you take a prescription, but serious side effects could be putting your life at risk.
The FDA requires that all approved drugs in the U.S. be proven safe and effective by clinical trials. During these clinical trials, serious side effects may be found. Before prescribing a medication to you, your doctor should discuss these side effects to determine if the benefits to you outweigh the potential risks.
If you start to feel odd soon after starting a new medication, this could signify something is wrong. It might be a side effect from the drug or an interaction between the new medication and your other routine prescriptions. It’s important to discuss your concerns with your doctor right away to avoid serious complications.
3. Your Method of Administration Suddenly Changes
Most prescription medications are taken orally, but some conditions require prescriptions that are administered intravenously or via injection. If you usually receive medication by one method but are suddenly given the drug a different way, ask questions to ensure it’s not a mistake.
Hospitals, clinics, and outpatient treatment centers are busy facilities that administer prescription medications that patients cannot safely give at home. This may be because the medications require access to a vein or a period of monitoring to prevent adverse reactions. At these facilities, the same medication may be given in several ways to different patients. This introduces the possibility of administration error.
Whenever you are being administered medication in a clinic, hospital, or outpatient treatment center, you should always confirm the method of administration with the nurse. This simple check-in can save you from serious harm due to receiving medication via the incorrect method. If you are receiving medication intravenously, you should monitor the infusion site as issues with needle placement can cause severe damage to your veins, skin, and muscles.
Victims of Medication Errors Deserve Compensation
You take medications to improve your health, not put it at risk. When doctors, nurses, and pharmacists make mistakes with medication administration or prescription, you can suffer long-term consequences that can be severe or life-threatening. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a medication error, you may be entitled to compensation.
When going up against large institutions like hospitals or pharmaceutical companies, you want an experienced team of Indianapolis medication error lawyers on your side. The skilled attorneys at Wagner Reese have been helping individuals receive the compensation they deserve for over 20 years. We specialize in complex cases and are committed to vigorously defending our clients’ rights. Contact us today for your free, confidential case evaluation.