The American Academy of Family Physicians has stated that four out of five adults in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. take prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs or supplements every week. In fact, about one-third of adults take five or more medications at the same time. This obviously raises the risk for errors and injuries resulting from the mixing of the wrong drugs.

The following are five simple tips to avoid such errors. First, one should use medication correctly and in accord with the doctor’s instructions. Do not cut pills, for example, if the doctor did not approve it. Use the right spoon or syringe to accurately measure a dosage.

This leads to the second tip, which is to know the proper dosage. This can differ between adults and children as well as between adults of differing physical characteristics. The third tip is to always be honest about weight and height.

Fourth, one should provide a doctor with an updated list of all the drugs one is taking before that doctor prescribes anything that would cause an adverse reaction. Lastly, it’s best to follow up with one’s doctor. This is required in the case of patients taking psychological drugs. A follow-up can catch any negative side effects, such as liver damage, through lab testing.

While patients may make mistakes, they often do so only because they follow the erroneous instructions of their doctor. If a doctor’s negligence leads to injury or death, then the victim or the family may have grounds for a case under medical malpractice law. It may be wise to hire a lawyer, though, since malpractice claims, especially wrongful death suits, have the potential to end in a high settlement and thus tend to face a lot of opposition from the defendants.