Common medication mistakes to avoid

Approximately 131 million Americans, which accounts for 66% of adults, use prescription drugs. However, a significant number of these individuals do not use their medications correctly, leading to potential health risks. Every year, between 7,000 and 9,000 people in the United States die due to medication errors.

The misuse of prescription drugs can be dangerous, with complications arising even from seemingly minor mistakes. For instance, skipping doses of certain medications, such as beta-blockers for blood pressure, can lead to potentially life-threatening spikes in blood pressure and increase the risk of a heart attack.

One common mistake is attempting to save money by skipping doses, taking less medication, or delaying filling prescriptions. Dr. Daniel Munoz, a cardiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, warns that not taking certain medications as prescribed can be unsafe.

Another common mistake is doubling up on doses if a dose is missed. In such cases, it’s often safer to skip the missed dose if the next dose is due soon. Stopping medications before the prescribed time is another misstep, as some drugs, like antidepressants, can cause harmful withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly.

Sharing medications with others is also a mistake, as medications are prescribed based on a person’s specific height, weight, age, and medical condition. Furthermore, every 8 minutes, a child experiences a medication error at home, with the most common mistakes involving giving the wrong medication, administering medicines to which the child is allergic, or providing the wrong dose.

It is crucial for individuals to take their medications correctly to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Organizing medications, such as lining up pills for morning and afternoon use, can help prevent errors. Always consult with a healthcare provider for any questions or concerns regarding medication usage.

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