Local News

Many Drug Errors Can Be Prevented By Patients

Posted August 16, 2001

— Most people do not think about prescription drug errors in their own home but they should. Many mistakes happen once your prescription is in your hands.

The average person forgets nearly half of what the doctor tells them by the time they get to the pharmacy. Still, most patients do not ask their pharmacists questions.

Nancy Mentzel at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Raleigh says the ideal patient is a prepared one.

"She or he would tell us all the medication they're taking. They would have spent some time with their doctor discussing medications, any side effects they're having," said Mentzel.

After your prescription is filled, read the information included with the prescription. This is the time to learn about possible side effects and drug interactions. If you would feel more comfortable talking to your pharmacist in private, ask. Most pharmacies have patient counseling areas. Ask the pharmacist to show you the medication so you know what it looks like. Learn how to take it correctly. If it says take three times a day, find out how to work it into your daily routine and meals. If you get home and run into problems do not hesitate to pick up the phone.

"I'm thrilled when people call me and say 'Well you know, I've got this antibiotic and I'm have some pain. Can I take ibuprofin with it?' and then I can advise them I'm very happy to answer that kind of question," said Mentzel.

Even if you are buying an over-the-counter drug or herbal supplement, talk to your pharmacist. Even non-prescription drugs can be dangerous if taken incorrectly.

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