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Three and a half years ago, a 46-year-old Alabama woman was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a painful autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in joints. To help alleviate her symptoms, her doctor prescribed Dilaudid – an opioid painkiller. She took her prescription to a local Rite Aid pharmacy and, tragically, her life changed forever.

Repeating a situation that has become all too common, the pharmacist filled the woman’s prescription with Dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is a powerful steroid used to treat severe inflammation. While it can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, it is approximately 6 times stronger than Dilaudid. After just a few months, the woman gained 40 pounds and began suffering from psychotic episodes. She was diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome and steroid myopathy, muscle damage resulting from steroid use. Sadly, this young woman is now confined to a wheelchair and requires around-the-clock care.

A jury took about three hours to determine that Rite Aid was responsible for the plaintiffs’ injuries. The couple was awarded $2.5 million in damages for pain and suffering, loss of income, and loss of companionship.

Pharmacy error occurs with shocking frequency. In some cases, pharmacy mistakes can have dangerous or even deadly consequences. Be sure to review your medications carefully and ask questions of your pharmacist. Being an advocate for yourself can help keep you and your family safe.

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