Specialty Topics

 

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is a national leader in vaccine education for both healthcare professionals and the public. Recently, IAC announced a new and improved website to help the public get the information they need about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. Visit www.vaccineinformation.org for reliable information on vaccines and their importance.

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.

Many people have lost weight using weight-loss medicines such as orlistat. Orlistat is the main ingredient in prescription strength Xenical (120 mg). It is also the main ingredient in the over-the-counter drug Alli (60 mg). Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed a number of reports of liver failure in people who take these medicines.

Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found in your blood and cells. Your body makes about 75% of the cholesterol it needs. You get the other 25% from the food you eat. However, too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. Everyone 20 years of age and older should have their cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years.

Are you using eye drops to help relieve your sore eyes? If you overuse eye drops that contain decongestants (ingredients that shrink swollen blood vessels) such as naphazoline, tetrahydrozoline, or phenylephrine, it could lead to conjunctivitis--swollen, red, sore eyes with a liquid discharge. It could take weeks for this condition to clear up. Use your eye drops as directed on the label, or your red eyes may actually worsen.

Regulators are investigating children’s charm bracelets and pendants imported from China that have been shown to contain cadmium. As a heavy metal, cadmium ranks seventh on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s toxic substances priority list right behind arsenic, lead, mercury and PCBs.

While speaking with a consumer about a new prescription, a pharmacist noticed that a mistake had been made when interpreting the doctor's directions for taking the medicine. The patient's doctor had written a new prescription for Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen) to treat pain.

Double, double, toil and trouble! William Shakespeare wasn't talking about drug names when he wrote this line in his play, Macbeth, but he sure had the right idea! Today, many medicines have names that look very similar to the names of other medicines. So mix-ups are possible when a pharmacist fills your prescription, especially if it's a handwritten prescription, as the following example shows.

Which rheumatoid arthritis medicines carry the greatest risk of infection? Which diabetes medicines are most often associated with congestive heart failure? Which medicines for depression are most likely to cause nausea or sleeplessness? Which medicines for high blood pressure cause the least side effects?

A 34-year-old woman with severe redness, pain, and peeling of her face, shoulders, and arms visited an emergency department. She had spent several hours at an outdoor flea market and developed the worst case of sunburn she had ever suffered.

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