Medication Safety Articles

 

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:

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.

A woman on vacation in another state got sick and a doctor prescribed an antibiotic, Biaxin (clarithromycin). She went to a pharmacy near where she was visiting to fill the prescription. Twelve days later, after returning home and finishing the antibiotic, she received a call from her mail-order pharmacy company.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

Show Your Support!

ISMP needs your help to continue our life saving work