60 seconds Safety Tip: Trulicity pen should never be primed
We received several reports about wasted Trulicity (dulaglutide) pens that were prescribed for hospitalized patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. This happened because nurses tried to prepare the injection of medicine by priming the pen. Priming is when you try to remove the air bubbles from the device and ensure the needle is ready to use. There are some medicine pens used to treat diabetes that require the pen to be primed. However, Trulicity pens do NOT need to be primed because they are ready-to-use and each pen contains only one dose. If priming is done, the medicine inside the Trulicity pen will empty out.
To use the Trulicity pen, remove the base cap and throw it away. You will notice a thin green bar above the red “lock” and green “unlock” icons. Turn the green bar to the green unlock icon on the pen. Place the clear base flat and firmly against the skin at the injection site (abdomen, thigh, or upper arm). Press and hold the green injection button and listen for a click (Figure 1). After the click, release the button but continue to hold the clear base firmly against the skin for about 5-10 seconds longer until a second click is heard, which happens as the needle moves back into the device. Any attempt to “prime” a Trulicity pen by going through these steps and injecting contents into the air would empty its contents and waste the pen.
Trulicity is packaged in cartons of four pens for a 1-month supply. If you receive a prescription for Trulicity, ask to speak with your pharmacist so you can learn how to use these pens. A short video on how to use the Trulicity pen can be found here: www.ismp.org/ext/787.
Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) is becoming an increasingly popular way for doctors to prescribe medicines for their patients. This method involves using a special computer program. Using a handheld device or computer terminal, the doctor selects the medicine he wants to prescribe for the patient.
Most people are aware of the need to keep medications out of children’s reach, but they don’t necessarily realize that similar rules apply when it comes to keeping pets safe. Pets can also get into medications that are not intended for them, which could cause harm. One case in point was recently reported.
Knowing the difference between a drug allergy and a side effect
Many people have experienced an unpleasant side effect to a medication, such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, or excessive sleepiness. Medication side effects are pretty common and can be expected, especially with certain drugs. For example, people may have nausea when taking a narcotic or diarrhea from an antibiotic. However, it is important to know that these side effects are not allergies because we’ve heard them referred to as such.