What errors can occur if a patient doesn’t understand a prescription label?

If patients don’t understand their prescription label, they are at risk of serious health problems that can be caused by taking too much or too little of their medication or a bad interaction with their other medications.

Some problems that can occur when medicine is not taken according to the prescription label, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) include:

  • Wrong dosage – interpreting the wrong dosage can cause patients to take too much or too little medicine, that is taken either too many or not enough times a day, for either too many or too few days
  • Drug interactions – some medications have bad reactions with other medicines, some foods and drinks, including alcohol; other medications require you take them with a meal

If you are ever confused about your prescription labels, contact your physician right away for more clear instructions.

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