Medication Safety Articles

 

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.

Important safety information was released recently by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding Pradaxa (dabigatran), a drug used to prevent blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation, a type of abnormal heart rhythm. The consumer alert notified patients who are taking this drug to be aware of its special storage and handling needs.

There are a few pills that you can take only once or twice a week, which is quite a convenience compared to most medicines. But harmful mistakes may happen because your doctor and your pharmacist are mostly used to medicines that are taken daily, not weekly. They’ve occasionally been known to accidentally write or type “daily” instead of “weekly.” If you take weekly pills every day by accident, you could be harmed. Sadly, some people have even died.

Today, parents are often given open visiting hours to be with their sick, hospitalized child. Many parents take advantage of this option and remain with their child as much as possible. For an ill child, this can be comforting and provide an important emotional benefit, which at times might help them get better faster. A study published in 2009 also suggests that parents who stay with their hospitalized child can help detect events, for example, errors with medicines that could harm their child. However, the study also showed that parents can sometimes cause the harmful event.1

It was double trouble for a patient when she and her doctor both made errors and it led to a 4-fold overdose of an antidepressant medication, CELEXA (citalopram Hydrobromide). The patient was starting this medication for the first time and after three days she began to experience severe anxiety, agitation, nausea, and severe fatigue. She called her doctor about her symptoms. The error was identified when they reviewed the medication together and realized what was causing the problem – a medication error.

There is evidence that some patients (and perhaps even health professionals) may not recognize that FDA-required facts about over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including dosing information, are often on a peel-back label that is stuck to the bottle.

Consumers must use caution when purchasing prescription drugs over the telephone or the Internet.  In addition to the increased risk of purchasing unsafe and ineffective drugs from the thousands of Web sites operating outside the law, there is the danger that personal data can be compromised

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued an alert a few years ago about the use of camphor products around children. The alert mentioned children who were hospitalized with seizures after ingestion and contact with over-the-counter (OTC) camphor products.

National Poison Prevention Week is being celebrated on March 20-26. The week is nationally designated to high-light the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. Every year in the US, more than one million children under the age of 5 are exposed to poisons. These poisons include medicines and other chemicals used inside and outside the home.

Every time you fill your prescription at the pharmacy you should receive written information about the medication you are taking. This information is called Consumer Medication Information (CMI) and is written by drug information companies and provided by the pharmacies that use their services. Pharmacies sometimes modify this information to make it shorter and easier to read. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently approve or review CMI. Pharmacies typically provide CMI with every prescription that they fill.

Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

Show Your Support!

ISMP needs your help to continue our life saving work