Medication Safety Articles

 

Before a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, patients are told to remove all metal objects they may be wearing. They are also asked whether they have any metal inside them. Things like pacemakers, prosthetic hips, or retained bullets and shrapnel may cause problems during the test.

In a poll, one out of every three people said that paying for prescriptions is a problem for their families. Of those, three out of four said they had put off filling their prescriptions or cut back the doses prescribed by their doctors because of the cost. One in ten people also admitted to buying prescription medicines illegally from a foreign country like Canada or Mexico to get a better price.

If your child is taking a liquid antibiotic, notice how it smells. Chances are, the pharmacist had to add water to the medicine to make it liquid right before you picked up the prescription. On occasion, pharmacists have made mistakes when preparing these medicines.

The story: Methotrexate is a cancer medicine. More recently, doctors have used it to treat other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. It works well for these other conditions if you take the medicine just once or twice a week, and in smaller doses. But if you take it every day by accident, you could be harmed. Sadly, some people have even died.

Let your doctor, nurse, and X-ray technician know if you have an allergy to shellfish or iodine before you have an X-ray procedure that requires an injection of dye (contrast solution). This dye is sometimes used to make things more visible during procedures like a cardiac catheterization, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

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.

Out of the corner of your eye, you catch your toddler drinking from his older broter's bottle of liquid medicine. You quickly call the National Poison Control Hotline.* But when they ask you how much your child took, you frantically realize that you don't really know.

A woman packing for vacation put a week's supply of her various medicines in an empty prescription bottle. When she returned home, she then stored the last few doses of her father's medicine in the empty prescription bottle so she could take his current bottle to the pharmacy for a refill.

Most health plans offer mail-order prescriptions. Follow these steps to ensure that your prescriptions are filled correctly and delivered safely.

The story: A pain relief system known as patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) allows a patient to take pain medication without having to call a nurse. It's used most often in the hospital. The concept is simple: A pump containing pain medication is attached to your intravenous line (the tube that goes into your vein).

Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

Show Your Support!

ISMP needs your help to continue our life saving work