5 ways to reduce the odds of an adverse drug reaction in Kentucky

Medication errors and adverse reactions are common, and unfortunately they can result in great harm for people in Kentucky.

It should be simple enough to receive a prescription in Kentucky, take the medicine and relieve symptoms. Unfortunately, for many people, that is not always the case. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 120,000 people are hospitalized every year due to an adverse reaction to a drug.

The reasons for these reactions vary. For example, someone may have an allergy, or a patient may not have understood how to take the medication. Additionally, medical professionals make mistakes, such as administering the wrong drug or dosage.

An adverse drug reaction can range from mild discomfort to causing death. To avoid falling victim, here are several steps people can take:

1. Provide an accurate medical history

It is imperative that any treating physician has a complete picture of a patient's past. This should include any conditions he or she has, as well as allergies and current medications. Alert the physician to any prior adverse reactions to drugs. A doctor may not always ask the right questions, so volunteering as much information as possible is crucial.

2. Check the dosage - twice

Under- or overdosing medications can be deadly. This is especially true when it comes to children. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that little ones are at an increased risk for suffering a medication error, especially if they are hospitalized. This is because their dosages are based on weight, which adds another factor that could be mishandled.

Anyone taking a drug should double-check the dosage with the physician. Before a medical professional administers a medication, patients or their guardians should ask the nurse to ensure the amount given is correct.

3. Learn the possible side effects

No medication should be taken blindly. In other words, patients should have a firm understanding on what the potential side effects of a drug may be. Reading the label helps, as well as asking the physician. This is also why providing a doctor with a complete medical history is important, as some medications can exacerbate an existing condition.

4. Understand procedures

Many drugs come with specific administration guidelines. Ignoring those guidelines can be dangerous. For example, many medications should be taken with food. Failing to do so could result in nausea. Worse, some drugs come with specific instructions for spacing pills apart by a certain amount of time. Taking the drugs too closely together could result in adverse symptoms.

5. Proper storage

Lastly, storing medicine properly is key. Some may need to be refrigerated, others should be kept at room temperature. A drug that is improperly stored may lose its efficacy and therefore be of little use to the patient.

When medical professionals make mistakes regarding drugs, Kentucky law states that patients can hold them accountable for the resulting harm. People who are concerned about this issue should speak with a personal injury attorney in Kentucky.