Top 10 Medication Errors – Failure to Identify a Drug Allergy

One of the most common types of medication errors patients face is a medical care provider’s failure to identify when a patient has a drug allergy. There are many protocols put in place to help prevent patients from receiving drugs that can hurt them. But sometimes doctors get careless, mistakes are made, or someone simply doesn’t understand about drug allergies.

Doctors are trained to understand how drug allergies work. Pharmacists, nurses, and other healthcare providers are also supposed to be aware of each patient’s specific needs and prevent someone from receiving a drug that could cause an allergic reaction.

Unfortunately, some medical professionals simply don’t take the appropriate steps to make sure a drug is safe, or they make careless mistakes that cause serious injuries for their patients.

Drug Allergies Are Common

A drug allergy is a group of symptoms caused by the immune system’s hypersensitivity to a medication. Symptoms of a drug allergy may include:

  • A mild rash
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anaphylaxis

Though considered a rare type of bad drug reaction, drug allergies can also be life-threatening.

Frequency of Medication Errors Related to Drug Aallergy

According To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, roughly 12% of medication errors occur in patients with a history of allergic reactions to the same class of medication. Allergic reactions can happen because a doctor failed to identify a drug allergy.

Common Drug Allergies

According to the Mayo Clinic, common medications that cause allergic reactions include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Painkillers such as naproxen sodium and ibuprofen
  • Autoimmune disease drugs

Additionally, there are several risk factors that may predispose a patient to a drug allergy, including:

  • Increased exposure due to frequent or large doses of the drug
  • Family tendency to develop drug allergies
  • Preexisting food allergies

The Dangers of Failing to Identify a Drug Allergy

Since drug allergies can be both dangerous and difficult to detect, a doctor must examine a patient’s medical history. Doctors are also supposed to ask patients if they have any known drug allergies before they begin a course of treatment that could lead to an issue.

If the doctor suspects the patient is allergic to antibiotics, an allergy skin test can be performed. In other cases, that medication and others in the same family may simply be ruled out as a form of treatment for that patient.

Allergic reactions may worsen each time they occur. The first time a patient has an allergic reaction to a medication, he might suffer from some difficulty breathing. If the reaction happens again, his lungs may swell to the point where he cannot breathe at all. This is why the results can be deadly when a doctor fails to detect a drug allergy.

What to Do if You Experience Side Effects or an Allergic Reaction

If you suffer from side effects when taking a new medication, tell your doctor about them as they may be indicative of a drug allergy. You should visit an emergency room or call 911 if you have difficulty breathing, your tongue or throat begins to swell, or you have heart palpitations.

Always tell your doctor if you have ever experienced a bad drug reaction and describe the symptoms when he is putting you on a new prescription medicine.

Contact Distasio Law Firm to Learn More

If your doctor or healthcare provider failed to identify a drug allergy and you suffered injuries as a result, contact Distasio Law Firm now. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and expenses. Our firm handles medical malpractice cases and can help you determine whether you may be owed financial compensation for your injuries and damages.

Knowing who is liable for your injury and how to go about holding them responsible can be a confusing and complex process. A lawyer from our firm can make sure that you are taking full advantage of the legal options available to you and requesting compensation for your full range of damages.

How We Help Our Clients

Some of the ways that a lawyer from our firm may help you include:

  • Gathering evidence to show that the healthcare providers who harmed you knew or should have known that you have a drug allergy
  • Making sure that your lawsuit is filed on time and that you include every possible defendant in the case
  • Calculating the total amount of damages that you may be entitled to receive from the people who hurt you

There are many other ways that our legal team can support you and your family through this stressful situation. You can start by discussing your case in a free case assessment with a member of our team. Dial (813) 259-0022 now to get started.


Our main office is here in Downtown Tampa, Florida in the Channelside neighborhood. Office in Wesley Chapel and Largo are available by appointment only.

Distasio Law Firm