Medication Safety Articles

 

Medicines are costly. So it's no surprise that most people are thankful when they leave the doctor's office with a bagful of medicine samples. Of course, doctors don't have samples of every medicine.They only have samples of certain medicines that drug companies decide to offer, hoping to boost sales. But when your doctor wants you to try a new medicine, he may be able to give you a small supply of samples to take home. This way, he can make sure that you tolerate the medicine and that it's working as expected before you have to pay for a prescription.

Many injectable medicines are now available in devices that look like pens (see Figure 1). Pen injectors offer consumers a reliable way to give themselves injectable medicines. In some pen styles, the cap is removed and a small needle is attached. The pens are already filled with medicine. Measuring the right dose can be as easy as turning a dial on the pen.

Durezol is a steroid eye drop prescribed to reduce swelling and pain after eye surgery. Unbelievably, there’s a wart remover with a very similar name called Durasal. The wart remover is a strong salicylic acid (26%) solution. Both products come in small applicator bottles. You can guess what can happen, especially since patients who undergo eye surgery often have difficulty reading medication labels.

A woman with stomach pains went to an emergency room for treatment. The woman complained of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as well. She had a history of diabetes. She was taking two prescription medicines, insulin and metformin, at home to control her diabetes. After she was examined by a doctor, blood tests were done. The doctor found that the woman had a very low red blood cell count and an unusually high level of lead in her blood.

Diabeta (glyburide) is an oral medication commonly used in the treatment of diabetes. However, a potentially dangerous situation exists for patients who purchased drugs via the Internet: Diabeta is also the name of a “natural medicine” available from Morpheme Remedies, based in India, but available online and promoted for purchase in the United States.

Have you ever heard that drinking grapefruit juice can interfere with certain medicines? This is true. But, do you know why and which medicines you shouldn't combine with grapefruit juice?

After using his albuterol inhaler, an asthmatic man began to cough uncontrollably. Instead of the medicine making it easier for him to breathe, he felt like something was stuck in his breathing passages. An X-ray at a clinic confirmed that there was a coin in his windpipe and a dime that had to be removed through a tube inserted down his throat.

All medicines have one generic name, and perhaps one or more brand names. For example, Advil and Motrin are brand names for the generic medicine ibuprofen. When you are taking medicine, it is important to know both the generic and the brand names. This information will prevent you from taking too much of the same medicine, which can lead to an overdose.

Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) is becoming an increasingly popular way for doctors to prescribe medicines for their patients. This method involves using a special computer program. Using a handheld device or computer terminal, the doctor selects the medicine he wants to prescribe for the patient.

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.

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