Medication Safety Articles

 

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is a national leader in vaccine education for both healthcare professionals and the public. Recently, IAC announced a new and improved website to help the public get the information they need about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. Visit www.vaccineinformation.org for reliable information on vaccines and their importance.

We received a report about patients purchasing a non-FDA approved drug product that was claiming to be a generic for a US product. Careprost (bimatoprost 0.03%) was found to be on www.amazon.com as a generic to Latisse (bimatoprost 0.03%)! Upon calling Allergan, the manufacturer of Latisse, they indicated that there is no FDA approved generic product available in the US. Our organization informed the FDA. Although you may not be able to purchase Careprost through Amazon anymore, there are other websites that can be found selling this product. As a reminder, always use caution when purchasing products on the internet. Products which are approved for use in the United States can be located here.

Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) is well known to consumers as an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever and fever reducer. Acetaminophen is an ingredient also found in many OTC and prescription medicines for both adults and children. 

Easy, legal access to inexpensive over-the-counter (OTC) medicines has contributed to widespread abuse of them. And because a doctor’s prescription is not needed, many mistakenly believe that OTC medicines are safer than prescription medicines and illegal street drugs. But even OTC medicines—including herbals—can cause serious and potentially fatal side effects when abused.

Sixth grade marks the start of middle school for many American 11-year-olds. Research also indicates that it is the age that children begin to self-medicate. With that in mind, Scholastic and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) have launched OTC Literacy, an educational campaign to raise awareness about over-the-counter medicine safety. The program is tailored to 6th graders and emphasizes that while OTC medicines are safe when used properly, it is critical to consult a parent or guardian before taking any medication.

Many of us are familiar with Vicks over-the-counter (OTC) cold and flu medicines DayQuil and NyQuil. In fact, the VICKS brand is one of the most well recognized names associated with cold and flu medicines (see figure 1).

A woman reported an error to us after her child’s doctor sent a prescription to a community pharmacy for her 11-year-old daughter. The prescription was for the laxative Miralax powder (polyethylene glycol 3350). The woman was instructed to give her daughter 3 TEAspoonfuls by mouth mixed with 6 ounces of liquid. This was to be taken once a day for 30 days.

In November 2011, we wrote about a May 2011 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning to not feed SimplyThick to infants who were born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Few caregivers are more devoted than parents when caring for a child. Yet, even the most cautious and educated parents will make mistakes when giving medicine to children or fail to protect children from accidental poisonings. Dangerous mistakes with medicines are three times more likely with children than adults,1 and more than half of all accidental poisonings—mostly with medicines—occur in children less than 5 years old.2 The list that follows, although not inclusive, covers ten important safety tips for parents.

In 2010 we first alerted consumers to be careful when using Clear Care, a contact lens disinfecting and cleaning solution. Clear Care contains 3% hydrogen peroxide, which can cause pain and burning if it comes into contact with the eyes. Clear Care is packaged with a special lens cleaning case. When the product is used with the special case, the hydrogen peroxide is neutralized to a solution that is safe for the eyes. Generic versions of this product are also available. For example, store chains such as Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Target carry store brands of the 3 % hydrogen peroxide disinfecting and cleaning solution.

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