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Medication errors often due to improper warnings

Researchers are suggesting that changes be made to the manner in which warning labels are applied to prescription medications. It appears that current labeling practices may not result in catching the attention of the individual taking the medication, and this has resulted in a variety of medication errors.

This could prove problematic - especially for elderly patients across the Pittsburgh area. A study has suggested that only about half of elderly patients even read the warning labels that are affixed to the medication bottles. Only 54 percent of such elderly patients actually did look at the label with their eyes.

Though drug manufacturers may feel that the color of label affixed to the bottles will motivate individuals to read the warnings, color of the label actually has little to no effect. Individuals are actually more likely to read such labels written in white than ones that are affixed in yellow or red.

It appears that there is little regulation concerning warning labels to begin with. Yet especially among senior citizens that may take as many as ten different medications daily, confusion about such labels substantially increases the risk that an adverse reaction will occur, or that medication mix-ups will occur.

In light of so little regulation, doctors and pharmacists do need to step in to make certain that patients are aware of all the potential mix-ups that occur due to the taking of prescription medications. Though manufacturers do need to step up and take responsibility as well, attorneys of patients injured due to a medication mistake are unlikely to let doctors off of the hook.

Medication mix-ups are a known problem, and thus everyone in the loop needs to take responsibility in assuring that medication mistakes are not made.

Source: American News Report, "New Warning Labels Needed on Prescription Drug Vials," by Elizabeth Magill, June 19, 2012

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