Medication Safety Articles

 

Two years ago, a Florida judge ruled that parents have a duty to read the drug information sheets that are given out with prescriptions for their children. The ruling was in response to a case involving a 3-month-old infant with an infection in her mouth (thrush). The baby's doctor had prescribed liquid nystatin to treat the infection. By mistake, the pharmacy dispensed a cold medicine containing a decongestant and an antihistamine.

Many medicines come in different strengths. For example, a medicine may come in both a 10 mg and a 20 mg tablet. Surprisingly, the higher dose often costs about the same as the lower dose. If the medicine is too expensive for some people, doctors may prescribe the higher dose and direct them to take half a tablet for each dose. However, splitting tablets may be risky for several reasons.

A man was awakened by a toothache in the middle of the night. Without turning on the lights, he pulled out and applied what he thought was a spray of pain reliever for his toothache. Afterwards, he did not rinse his mouth. In the daylight of the morning, he realized he had actually used Lamisil AT Pump Spray in his mouth.

You may have noticed that some familiar cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine are now kept behind the pharmacy counter. Pseudoephedrine ("soo-doe-eh-fed-reen") is a common ingredient in cold medicines such as Sudafed, Wal-Phed, CVS Nasal Decongestant, and others. This medicine is a decongestant. It shrinks the blood vessels in your nose which makes it easier to breathe.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is a medicine that quite a few people take to prevent blood clots. Taking too much of it can cause unintentional bleeding. However, even taking the right dose can lead to bleeding problems if you also take certain antibiotics to treat an infection. Some antibiotics can cause higher levels of warfarin in the body.

Too close for comfort. A mother discovered that her infant daughter had been taking an allergy medicine instead of an antacid for a month. The baby's doctor had prescribed the antacid Zantac (ranitidine) syrup to help with spitting up and crying. When the mother called the pharmacy for a refill, she requested the same grape flavor of medicine that her daughter had been taking.

If you are like most Americans, you are on a first name basis with your hairdresser, barber, maybe even your car mechanic or dry cleaner. But do you know the first name of your pharmacist? A study done by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) found that only 35% of consumers know their pharmacist's name.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is an independent agency that sets standards for US hospitals. The Joint Commission visits hospitals often to see if they are meeting these standards. This agency is especially concerned about your safety.

Kava is an herbal product that people claim reduces stress and calms you. Please be aware that kava has a risk of severe liver damage and should never be taken if you have liver problems. Even if you are healthy, there are some bad side effects that may occur if you take this product.

Some medicines come in patches that you attach to your skin. Examples include: NicoDerm CQ (nicotine), used to quit smoking; Climara (estradiol), used to treat symptoms of menopause; Duragesic (fentanyl), used to relieve serious, long-term pain.Patches are designed to give a constant amount of medicine over a certain period of time, usually several days. New patches contain lots of medicine, but used patches can still contain medicine after you take them off. Both new and used patches can be dangerous for children or pets.

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