We’ve all seen those daily pill organizers used to keep track of prescription pills. Most people think “those are for old people, not for me” but the truth is we all should slow down and take time to sort out our medications. Here’s why:
According to a recent study, “every minute of every day, three Americans call a poison control center because they’ve made a major mistake
with their medication.” You’re probably wondering how many people is that exactly, and so we’ll do the math for you. 24 hours X 60 minutes per hour = 1440 minutes and three per minute adds up to 4,320 people per day which is 1,576,800 people per year.
Why does this happen?
Because people don’t take the time to focus on taking the right pill at the proper time and they don’t follow directions. Often it is a case of interaction between the drug they were prescribed and some other pill or liquid they didn’t bother to tell their doctor about. Sometimes people are just in a hurry and they think “I forgot to take my pill yesterday and the day before, so I better take three today.” Often that is very unwise to do.
If you look at the directions that accompany your prescriptions you will see somewhere it says “what to do if you miss a dose” and you should read that. With some medications 3 times the normal dose may seriously hurt you. It may put you to sleep while you’re driving.
The same study found that the rate of serious medication errors rose from 1.09 for every 100,000 Americans in 2000 to 2.28 per 100,000 by 2012. One-third of the cases resulted in a hospital stay, the researchers said.
We also have to consider the possibility that a mistake was made in the chain of events from your physician writing your prescription to the point where you pay for it at the pharmacy. Despite computers and robot pill dispensers, there are still many “medical errors” made every day.
So, what is the solution? Set aside some time at the beginning of each week and sort out your pills. The organizers seem like a good tool to use. Each time you visit the pharmacy, pay more attention to the medicine you’re picking up and stop to ask the pharmacist questions. Always tell your doctor and pharmacist if you’re taking any over-the-counter supplements or pain-killers, and in general slow down. This is your health we’re talking about so don’t grab a handful of pills and toss them back with a swig of coffee.
If you feel that your doctor or pharmacist made a mistake with your prescription medication or if you think one of your medications has harmed you, please call us at 954-356-0006. Prescription errors have been a special area of our law practice for over 20 years and we know what to do.