Medication Safety Articles

 

Patients with diabetes who require insulin and who use more than a single insulin product should consider not storing the vials inside their original cardboard cartons after the packages have been opened. If the vials are accidentally returned to the wrong carton after being used, that sets the stage for a serious insulin mix-up, a medical emergency waiting to happen.

Doggy drops in your child's ear? Who would ever make that mistake? Well, people do. A father told the babysitter to put in his son's ear drops before bed, and the careful babysitter did. She found ear drops labeled "put two drops in right ear" in the medicine cabinet and did so. But the family's dog also had a bottle of ear drops, which were the drops the babysitter used.

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.

The medication known as DEPAKOTE ER has a variety of uses in medicine. It is used for epilepsy, migraine headaches, and for patients with certain mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder or mania. This medication is long acting and is referred to as “extended release” because the contents are released over an extended period of time, not all at once after you take it. The drug is intended to be taken just once a day.

You may be surprised to learn that some medication errors happen simply because of misunderstood abbreviations that doctors and other health professionals use when communicating prescription orders. Misinterpretations can even happen when the prescription is sent by computer. Here’s an example:

The FDA has informed the public about reports of sudden kidney injury linked to the use of oral sodium phosphate products for bowel cleansing (for example, when used to clean out the bowels before a colonoscopy). These products include the prescription products, Visicol and OsmoPrep, and other products available over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription when used at higher doses, such as Fleet Phospho-soda.

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.

Vitamins and other nutrients are important for a healthy pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant often receive nutritional counseling and/or a prescription for prenatal vitamins. A prenatal vitamin will not make up for poor nutrition. But it can provide a woman with vitamins and minerals they may not be getting in food.

Doctors often call new prescriptions into your pharmacy so you do not have to pick up a handwritten prescription. Unfortunately, prescriptions that are communicated orally can be misheard, as in the following example.

In the March/April 2007 issue of our our consumer newsletter, Safe Medicine, we published a report about concerns with over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines given to children. At that time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) felt that OTC cough and cold medicines did not lessen symptoms in children younger than 2 years old.

Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

Show Your Support!

ISMP needs your help to continue our life saving work