The Law Offices of Charles Dunn
Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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Medication errors and excessive dosages

Some medications have a variety of different dosages. Because these dosages often vary by a factor of 10, mix-ups in the prescribing and dispensing of the medications is not uncommon. However, if Texas patients are given doses that are too high due to a mix-up, they can be seriously harmed.

The risk for these medication errors, often called 10-fold overdoses, is increased when health care professionals and computer systems use trailing zeros or do not use leading zeros. For example, a 1.0 mg dose of a medication could be misread as a 10 mg dose. Likewise, a .5 mg dose could be misread as a 5 mg dose. In one case, a consumer who was prescribed 75 mcg of buprenorphine was accidentally given 750 mcg by the pharmacist. However, it was not known how the error actually occurred.

While much of the blame often falls on the doctors prescribing the medication or the pharmacists who dispense the medication, drug companies could take more time to market medications that have strengths that are above or below the normal 10-fold doses. This could be especially important for high-alert medications, particularly those that are used for long-term management of chronic pain.

In some cases, medication errors can be deadly, especially if the patient who was given the medication is a child or vulnerable adult. Because wrong doses can be so harmful, those who suffered a worsened medical condition or complications as a result could seek compensation for the cost of the additional medical bills and other potential damages. A medical malpractice attorney can often assist in this regard.

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