Kevin Doherty, PharmD


The 10 Most Common Prescribing Errors: Tips on Avoiding the Pitfalls

February 01, 2004

Numerous factors contribute to the medication errors that kill up to 98,000 patients each year. Unnecessarily high dosages can result in increased side effects with only a small therapeutic benefit, especially in elderly patients. Lack of patient information-such as a history of allergies or adverse drug reactions-is another cause of error and injury. Communication failures include the use of ambiguous abbreviations, misinterpretation of verbal orders, and lack of timely response to a patient's medication-related symptoms. Dosing errors are common in children because of variability in dosage expressions in drug references. Remedies for prescribing errors are described in detail here.