You trust your doctor and pharmacist to take proper care of you. Because your health care providers are human, they may occasionally make an error in your medication. 

To protect your health, and to help you avoid a medical malpractice claim, see what Patient Safety Network says about risk factors associated with prescription errors. The right knowledge can help you sidestep a serious disaster. 

Taking multiple medications at once  

Depending on your medical care provider(s), you may currently take more medications than your diagnosis requires, which is polypharmacy. Taking more than one medication increases the chances of a medication error, and taking medications that you do not need only increases those chances. 

Taking prescriptions as an elderly patient 

Touching back on multiple medications, older patients often have more health issues than younger patients. While senior citizens may take several different medications, they often actually need each prescription. Being on more than one medication could lead to adverse side effects. 

Possessing low health literacy  

Not all patients are literate when it comes to knowing the right way to take their prescriptions. For instance, a patient may take an incorrect dose of medication. Even if the patient is “health literate” and can use math in day-to-day tasks, she or he may have a caregiver who is not so literate or skilled at prescription administration. 

Taking medications that sound and look alike 

Some prescriptions either have similar names or look like each other, either of which can lead to confusion on your part. 

Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about your specific medication error risk factors. Together, you can help reduce your overall risk of being a victim of an avoidable medication error.