Normally you go to the doctor because you don’t feel well. You expect your doctor to perform a checkup, maybe order some tests, and send you home with the best medication for your ailment. A quick visit to the pharmacist should wrap things up and get you started on the road to recovery. Sounds simple enough, but things have a way of veering off track — especially where drugs are concerned.
Nowadays there are so many drugs on the market that many of them look alike or sound alike — so much so that pharmacists confuse them. The pharmaceutical research company Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions reports that 3.9 billion prescriptions were filled in 2009, and 1.7 percent were filled wrongly. While that error rate may seem negligible, it translates into 66 million drug mistakes a year.
Commonly Confused Medications
|Cerebyx – Designed to treat seizures||CeleBREX – Used to treat arthritis|
|Denavir – Used to for reoccurring cold sores||dinavir – An antiviral medication used for HIV/AIDS|
|Januvia – A type 2 diabetes medication||Enjuvia – Used to treat hot flashes in menopausal women|
|Valcyte – Designed to treat eye infections in AIDS patients||Valtrex – Typically prescribed to treat genital herpes|
These tips will help you know what to looking out for at the pharmacy:
- Doctors have notoriously bad penmanship so ask for clarification if you can’t read the prescription.
- Check the written precription against what your doctor says he’s prescribing for you.
- Get a printout of the prescription so you know the drug’s name and what it is used for.
- Talk to the pharmacist. He or she is wealth of information and can tell you what to expect from the drug.
Don’t let medical professionals make all your decisions. Ultimately you’re the one calling the shots. You have to play an active role in your healthcare by doing research and learning the right questions to ask your doctor. If you don’t feel like you have all the tools you need to make a good decision, you can become an informed patient.