Receiving a Prescription

 

Depakote (divalproex sodium) ER is a medicine used to treat seizure disorders, migraine headaches, and certain mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder. The "ER" part of the name stands for "extended release," meaning the contents of the medicine are released slowly, not all at once, after you take the medicine. So, Depakote ER should be taken just once a day.

We have notified the FDA about a potentially dangerous situation due to a couple of drug names that are way too similar. DUREZOL (difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05% (click here) is a steroid eye medication used to treat inflammation after eye surgery. DURASAL is a solution containing 26% salicylic acid that is used to treat common and plantar warts (click here). If someone accidentally places Durasal in the eye, it could cause severe burns and possibly permanent blindness.

A 67-year-old man went to an emergency department because he was dizzy and had blurred vision. The doctor found he also had low blood pressure and a fast heart rate. The doctor admitted him to the hospital and prescribed medicines to raise his blood pressure and lower his heart rate.

A pharmacy technician in a chain retail pharmacy issued the wrong medicines to a patient. The pharmacy uses a bin system for prescriptions awaiting pick-up and the technician accidentally selected the prescription in the bin next to the correct one. The first name of the two patients was exactly the same.

Fentanyl is a very powerful pain reliever. It is only supposed to be prescribed for people with long-term (chronic) pain who have already been taking high doses of prescription opioid (narcotic) pain medicine for at least a week. Serious harm or death has resulted when this drug was taken in high doses by people who have not been taking other prescription opioid pain medicine for 7 days or more.

A patient was accidentally given another patient’s medications at a pharmacy. Later, when a pharmacist realized the mistake, he attempted to reach the patient by phone. However, the patient did not answer. The pharmacist kept trying but did not get through until later that evening. By that time, the patient had already taken another patient’s CELLCEPT (mycophenolate mofetil), a drug that lowers your immunity (it's used in transplant patients to prevent rejection), instead of her new prescription for ZESTRIL (lisinopril) to treat hypertension.

A patient with a heart beat problem (in this case she had what is called atrial fibrillation - which is when the top part of the heart, called the atrium, beats too fast and irregularly) was admitted to a hospital and was supposed to get a heart medication called LOPRESSOR (metoprolol tartrate). However, the physician’s poor handwriting led hospital nurses and pharmacists to misread the prescription. Pharmacists dispensed, and nurses gave, LYRICA (pregabalin).

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which operates Consumermedsafety.org, has long promoted the importance of doctors including the reason for each medication right on the prescription given to you to take to the pharmacy. This critically important step helps to prevent wrong drugs from accidentally being dispensed. There are, for example, many drug names that look-alike or sound alike when prescriptions are telephoned to the pharmacy.

We realize waiting at the pharmacy to get your prescriptions filled can be frustrating, especially when you do not feel good. Well, to help decrease that frustration, some pharmacies came up with a marketing idea to reduce that frustration. They decided to give consumers a “15-Minute Promise” to fill up to three new prescriptions in 15 minutes or less. If the pharmacy does not keep the promise, the consumer receives a $5 gift card.

Dangerous mix-ups have occurred in community pharmacies between two powerful medicines: propylthiouracil (pronounced pro-pull-thy-o-your-a-sill)—a medicine used to treat an overactive thyroid, and Purinethol (mercaptopurine)—a chemotherapy (cancer) medicine used to treat leukemia

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Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

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