With so many different types of insulin and the variety of insulin delivery systems available on the market, errors associated with the use of insulin are not uncommon. Consumers that have been using insulin for a long time, as well as those that are new to insulin therapy, must remember that insulin errors can happen to anyone at any time and can potentially result in serious injury.
The process of obtaining insulin from the pharmacy is a bit complex. Your doctor needs to prescribe it, your pharmacy must dispense it, along with insulin syringes, and you or a family member will need to administer it. In some cases, an insulin pen or a pump may be prescribed for insulin administration. If you are hospitalized, different steps are added to the process. For example, nurses are usually involved with preparing and administering insulin doses. As with all medicines, each step in this process creates a potential for an error. For example, an error can occur as a result of a prescription mistake in your doctor’s office, a dispensing error at the pharmacy, a mix-up at the hospital or a mistake in your own home. This means you need to be aware and learn what steps are needed to protect against mistakes.
Health care facilities, doctors, pharmacists and nurses take medication error prevention very seriously. But doctors, nurses and pharmacists are human. And humans make errors. Unfortunately, errors with insulin are well-known throughout the medical community and therefore many safeguards are in place to prevent them. But even with these safeguards, it is still important for those who use insulin, or have family members who assist the patient with insulin, to educate themselves about the types of errors that can occur. This way, you'll create an awareness of what to look out for and how to best prevent insulin-related harm.