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Why do many doctors make serious prescribing errors?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Firm News

Patients with concerning medical symptoms need to see a doctor if they want prescription medication. Drugs ranging from antibiotics to muscle relaxants require the recommendation of a physician. The potential risks inherent in taking medication are why the state requires a physician’s oversight when starting a new medication.

Doctors can determine the right dosage of a prescription drug and can also determine when someone no longer requires that treatment or needs to transition to a different medication. Sadly, prescribing errors are a common form of medical malpractice.

What may lead a licensed and educated medical doctor to make mistakes when recommending a drug regimen for a patient?

Lack of time and attention

The most common reasons for prescribing errors include a physician rushing through their meeting with a patient. They could potentially overlook information included in their medical records, such as a warning about a reaction they had to a drug in the past or a family history of responding poorly to certain treatments. A doctor could also potentially fail to notice other prescription medications that a patient takes that could cause a dangerous drug interaction. If physicians don’t devote enough time to talking with the patient and reviewing their records before prescribing a drug, the outcome could be relatively negative.

Failing to track changes in best practices

There have been significant advances in pharmaceutical technology in recent years, and doctors may not always remain up to date on current best practices. They may be unaware of new contraindications or interactions recently reported in medical journals. They could also fail to follow best practices, such as tapering someone off of drugs that cause addiction. Opioids and psychiatric drugs, as well as steroids like prednisone, often require that patients take a slow approach to terminating their treatment to avoid withdrawal and other negative physical reactions.

Some medication errors occur at the point of dispensation or administration, but many medication errors are the result of a physician failing in their duty to a patient. Recognizing that prescribing errors are a form of medical malpractice could help patients hold physicians accountable when their negligence leads to harm. A medical malpractice lawsuit is sometimes a viable option after a serious prescribing error.