Physicians are the gatekeepers for many forms of medical treatment, including prescription drugs. If a patient thinks that they might benefit from a trendy new medication that helps people lose weight or keep their blood pressure under control, they will have to discuss that prescription medication with their doctor during a checkup before they will be potentially permitted to try it.
Sometimes, doctors will prescribe medication based on the request of a patient, and other times the prescription is their idea because of the symptoms or concerns presented by the patient at an appointment. Any new medication is a potential source of risk for the patient involved. They might have an allergic reaction to the drug or be one of the patients who develop side effects that outweigh the benefits that can potentially be derived from the treatment.
Other times, patients may end up experiencing negative medical consequences because of a drug interaction. The new prescription causes a medical issue because of another medication that they use. Physicians recommending new treatments to patients should be able to avoid causing drug interactions unless they make one or both of the mistakes below.
1. They don’t review a patient’s chart carefully
Every patient’s medical records include documentation of how they responded to other medications and a list of their current prescriptions and treatments. In fact, when they spend more time working on digital charts, they may feel like they have less time to review them before and during a patient appointment. A physician could get all of the information that they need to appropriately treat a patient from their medical chart. Sadly, physicians often just glance at the chart rather than reviewing it thoroughly and can easily overlook important details about existing prescriptions.
2. They don’t talk with the patient about the care
Patients may see more than one doctor and could have a medication recommended by an outside specialist that isn’t on record with their current primary care physician. They might even take an herbal supplement that could interact with the prescription the doctor intends to recommend. Physicians who talk about medications and supplements that could cause an interaction with a patient during the process of discussing their treatment suggestions could uncover key information that could help them tweak their recommendations or get the patient to take steps that will protect them from potential risks.
When medical professionals do not adequately review a patient’s chart and do not discuss known concerns and current care with a patient before recommending a new prescription, they may put that patient at unnecessary risk of a drug interaction. Recognizing that a medication error was preventable might inspire someone to seek legal guidance in order to hold a doctor accountable for the negligence that led to their harm.