Jennifer Gold

Jennifer Gold

One of the medication errors reported recently to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) through this website involved a patient who dropped off her doctor's prescription for Prilosec (omeprazole), a drug for acid reflux, at a local pharmacy. After she picked up the prescription and got home, she opened the bottle.

It should never happen, but it's not unheard of for another patient's medication to somehow slip into your bag before you pick it up at the pharmacy. Bagging errors can happen when more than one patient's medications are in the pharmacy work field at the same time, often during the prescription packaging process. Pharmacists are well aware of this and most pharmacies do require that staff work on only one patient's medications at a time. Nevertheless, since bags containing prescription medications are not routinely opened at the point-of-sale, if an error does happen it may not be captured before the patient leaves the pharmacy.

Inhalers are devices that contain medicines used to treat asthma and several other diseases that affect the lungs. By inhaling the medicine from the device, asthma sufferers and people with other lung diseases can breathe easier. It is important to learn how to properly use an inhaler and when to use it. This is especially true for people with asthma. Asthma is a breathing condition that affects both children and adults. Many people often need more than one medicine/inhaler to treat their asthma.

Sometimes health care consumers express concerns about the possibility of getting the wrong medication when they have a prescription filled at the pharmacy. Here's a tip that will vastly reduce that possibility:

Monday, 23 May 2011 18:11

Medication Learning Guides

Educating Consumers About High-Alert Medications Dispensed From Community Pharmacies

Just a handful of drugs are considered high-alert medicines. These medicines have been proven to be safe and effective when taken properly. But they can cause injury or death if a mistake happens while taking them. This means that it is vitally important for you to know about this medicine and take it exactly as intended.

During a study on medication safety in community pharmacies, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) identified which medications should be included on this list of high-alert medications. For some of these medications, the Institute created safety pamphlets for consumers. By clicking on the medications listed below, you can access these pamphlets, which can help keep you safe while taking these medications.


The full list of high-alert medications dispensed from community pharmacies can be found below. Please be sure to talk to your pharmacist when picking up these high-alert medications. As resources become available for these medications, we will add them to our website. 

Types of Medicine Examples Combination of products

Antiretroviral Agents
(used to treat HIV)

abacavir Combivir
  atazanavir Atripla
  deaviridine Epzicom
  lamivudine Kaletra
  ritonavir  
  zidovudine  

Chemotherapy, oral
(used to treat cancer)

busulfan mercaptopurine
  chlorambucil methotrexate
  cyclophosphamide  procarbazine
  lomustine  temozolomide
  melphalan  
 Oral Medicine for diabetes Chlorpopamide glyburide
   flipizide  repaglinide
Anti-rejection medicine
(used after transplants)
azathioprine pimecrolimus
   cyclosporine  sirolimus
   daclizumab  tacrolimus
  mycophenolate  
Insulin NPH/Regular glargine
  aspart glulisine
  detemir lispro
Powerful pain relievers
(narcotics
butorphanol methadone
  fentanyl morphine
  hydromorphone opium tincture
  meperidine oxycodone
Drugs that cause birth defects when taken during pregnancy atorvastatin isotretinoin
  bosentan simvastatin
  estazolam temazepam
Pediatric liquid medications that require measurement carbamazepine  
  chloral hydrate liquid
(given to children before a procedure to make them sleepy)
 
  midazolam liquid
(given to children before a procedure to make them sleepy)
 
  heparin
(including Lovenox and Fragmin)
 
  Metformin  
  methotrexate
(used to treat arthritis)
 
  propylthiouracil  
   warfarin  

People who have a severe life-threatening allergic reaction to bee stings, peanuts, shellfish, or other causes must get help immediately. A medicine called epinephrine (adrenaline) slows down allergic reactions and can prevent a reaction from getting worse. Doctors often recommend that patients (or parents of young children) carry epinephrine injection with them in a prefilled syringe or at least keep one close by. EpiPen or one of its generic equivalents is then prescribed.

Patients need to be alert to the many risks associated with new prescriptions. Typically, during a visit to the physician or nurse practitioner, you may be handed a prescription to have filled at your local pharmacy. Make sure that you know the name of the medication prescribed and its' purpose before you leave the office.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 19:57

What is a "dropperful"?

Medications for children are frequently ordered by the "dropperful". There are several problems with these orders. First there is too much room for misinterpretation of what might constitute a dropperful. One individual might consider it to be a dropper filled to the upper calibration mark.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 19:15

Confusion with Catapress-TTS Patches

Catapres-TTS (transdermal therapeutic system) patches contain the medicine clonidine, which is used to treat high blood pressure. The patch is applied to the skin where it slowly releases the medicine into the body over a specific period of time.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 19:08

Muscle Problems with Cholesterol Medications

Cholesterol-lowering medicines can cause a variety of muscle problems. These side effects can range from mild soreness to a potentially deadly condition called rhabdomyolysis (pronounced rab-doe-my-o-ly-sis).