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Medication Errors Should Not Be Taken Lightly

October 12, 2015 | Category: Prescription Errors | Share

Millions of people (approximately 1.3) are injured each year in the United States because of mistakes in prescribing, dispensing and administering medications.

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) defines a medication error as "any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing; order communication; product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use."

Here are the 5 most common medication errors according to Mayo Clinic and the FDA:

Medication Error #1: Confusing two medications with similar names

Medication Errors Should Not Be Taken Lightly - Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.Up to 25 percent of medication errors, according to the Medication Error Reporting Project, are the result of confusion with drugs with similar names. Patients may take the wrong medication because the pharmacy dispensed the wrong medication due to this confusion.

Medication Error #2: Overdosing

There are instances when a physician may write a prescription and accidentally order "10.0 mg" rather than "1.0 mg." This may seem like a tiny error with a decimal point, but it may have catastrophic results. The higher Colchicine dose can cause poisoning which would be similar to an arsenic poisoning, according to a Forbes magazine article.

Medication Error #3: Allergic reaction to the drug

Reactions to medication may be mild or life-threatening. The most common allergic reactions are hives and rashes. Anaphylactic shock may also occur and is life-threatening.  

Medication Error #4: Taking over-the-counter drugs that interact with prescriptions

The Mayo Clinic gives the following two examples of this medication error:

  1. Taking over-the-counter products that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) when you're already taking a prescription pain medicine that contains acetaminophen, possibly exceeding the recommended acetaminophen dose and putting yourself at risk of liver damage.
  2.  Taking the brand-name drugs Zyban and Wellbutrin at the same time. Both contain the drug bupropion, a medicine to treat depression and aid in smoking cessation. Each of the medications is intended to treat two separate conditions. Taking both Zyban and Wellbutrin at the same time will lead to an overdose of bupropion.

Medication Error #5: Eating and drinking food that interacts with prescriptions

Sometimes there may be a reaction between what we eat and drink and the medications we take. For those who are on the anticoagulant Coumadin or other blood thinning statins, for example, eating foods which are high in vitamin K, including leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, may make medicine ineffective. Grapefruit juice, for example, can cause potentially dangerous interactions with at least 85 different medications because it contains a compound that affects the way medications are metabolized by the liver. Medscape, provided by WebMD, offers a website- Drug Interaction Checker (DIC). You may access the Drug Interaction Checker here: DIC 

"If you believe that you, or a family member, are the victim(s) of prescription errors, contact the attorneys at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. We specialize in handling cases where errors were caused by manufacturers who develop and produce the medication, or the pharmacy that dispenses the prescription. We have seen the devastating injuries or deaths that have occurred to adults and children because of prescription errors," said Fort Myers Prescription Errors Attorney, Randall Spivey.


Fort Myers Prescription Errors Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


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