Never Trust the Pharmacy

RxMy paranoia about prescriptions has turned out to be a good thing.  The pharmacy screwed up.

After some discussion about side effects, my doctor decided to adjust the dosage on one of my medicines.  With any luck, a lower dose won’t make me fall asleep.  Off I went to the pharmacy with my new script.

Since I was refilling all my prescriptions (getting ready for vacation), there were quite a few bottles.  I always check the labels, as well as look at the pills.  I make sure the label says what it’s supposed to say, and I make sure the pills look like they’re probably the same thing I’ve gotten in the past.

Maxalt 003Right there on the one with a dosage change, the label said “10 mg,” just like normal.   I pointed out that this new prescription was for five mg, not ten. (I was nice about it.  “I think that one’s only supposed to be 5 mg.”  Yelling at people is not the best way to gain their cooperation.)  The clerk looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.  Apparently everyone knows that you can take up to 30mg of this stuff, and that it comes in ten mg tabs.  Patients/customers are stupid; we don’t know anything.  Except that the pharmacist still had the written prescription, and when the assistant went to get it to prove that I was mistaken…  At least she apologized.

I’ve seen a zillion lists of things that can go wrong with a prescription (unfortunately some of those things have happened to me), but I don’t recall ever seeing “everyone in the pharmacy assumes a typical dosage instead of actually reading the prescription” as a reason for medication errors.  I thought there were safety procedures in place to prevent things like this from happening.

As I mentioned in a previous post, if the only information you have about your medicines is written on the little piece of paper that you hand to the pharmacist, you don’t have any information at all once you’ve turned in the prescription to the pharmacy.  But if you know which medicine you’re supposed to get, you can verify that you receive the right prescription.

  • Know the name of your medication (brand & generic).
  • Know what it’s supposed to do.
  • Check to see if you get the right meds.

And now I’ll add…

  • Know what dose you’re supposed to get, not just the drug name.
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3 thoughts on “Never Trust the Pharmacy

  1. Pingback: How much?! « ∞ itis

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