Jennifer Gold

Jennifer Gold

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

Chemotherapy, oral
(used to treat cancer)

busulfan mercaptopurine
  chlorambucil methotrexate
  cyclophosphamide  procarbazine
  lomustine  temozolomide
 Oral Medicine for diabetes Chlorpopamide glyburide
   flipizide  repaglinide
Anti-rejection medicine
(used after transplants)
azathioprine pimecrolimus
   cyclosporine  sirolimus
   daclizumab  tacrolimus
Insulin NPH/Regular glargine
  aspart glulisine
  detemir lispro
Powerful pain relievers
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)
(including Lovenox and Fragmin)
(used to treat arthritis)

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).

Dangerous mix-up's between regular insulin U-100 (100 units of insulin per mL of solution) and U-500 (500 units per mL) can occur. A mL is about 1/30th of an ounce and insulin vials usually contain 10 mL.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 18:07

Use Only Oral Syringes for Liquid Medicines

Many parents draw liquid medicines into syringes to make them easier to give to children. But did you know it could be dangerous if you do not use the proper type of syringe? Children have swallowed or choked on the caps of hypodermic syringes when these syringes were used to give liquid medicines by mouth.

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