What do I do if given the wrong prescription?

Patients should take steps to avoid receiving and taking the wrong medication.

Patients with health or medical conditions might require medication to feel better. People rely on their doctors and pharmacists to prescribe them the proper medication, but there are instances in which a patient may suffer physical harm at the hands of the very professionals meant to help them. What steps should patients take if they discover they received the wrong prescription?

Check the bag before leaving the pharmacist

Before leaving the pharmacist, patients should look at their prescription bottle to ensure it is the same medication their physician prescribed. Additionally, they should check to see that the dosage and side effects (if any) match what they were told by their doctor. Sometimes two medications sound the same, and there are also instances in which pharmacists give the right medicine to the wrong patient.

Ask questions

It is also best that patients ask their doctors the color and size of the medication and compare it with what the pharmacist gives them. People should also ask their doctor specifically what the medication treats and ensure that information matches what is on the prescription's patient information packet. If a patient is getting a refill on a medication they are currently taking and it looks different, they should ask the pharmacist if it is a generic drug that treats their condition the same as the name brand alternative.

Inform a physician ASAP

In the event that a patient takes a prescription before discovering an error was made, that person should notify her or his physician and pharmacist as soon as possible; the same applies to if the patient even suspects that he or she was given medication in error. Taking an incorrect medication could be harmless, or it could result in a potential legal case.

Understand what may happen as a result of taking the wrong medication

While a person should hope for the best in these situations, patients need to understand what might happen to them as a result of taking the wrong prescription. For instance, pregnant women who take incorrect medications may deliver babies who suffer from birth defects. A person's currently existing medical condition may be left untreated and worsen the longer the patient takes the wrong prescription. There are also instances of private personal and medical information falling into the wrong hands, which may lead to emotional distress.

Because pharmacies are such busy places, errors are bound to happen. Diligence, asking the right questions and double checking are all good ways to prevent errors, but there are instances in which it is best to consult with one of our experienced attorneys.