Actemra syringe dispensed instead of pen

 

Actemra syringe dispensed instead of pen. Actemra (tocilizumab) is medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. The medicine is available in a prefilled syringe and a prefilled pen (Actemra ACTPen) for self-injection at home. People who use this medicine may need to give themselves the medicine once a week, every 2 weeks, or every 3 weeks depending on what it is being used to treat.

Recently, a pharmacy dispensed three Actemra ACTPens and one Actemra prefilled syringe for a 4-week supply of the medicine. The person was supposed to take the medicine once each week using an Actemra ACTPen. The instructions for administering the medicine using the pen and syringe are different, which could lead to an error. Fortunately, in this case, the person called the pharmacist and was taught how to use the syringe.      Actemra

The two Actemra products are very similar. The prefilled pen and prefilled syringe come in the same strength. The packages also look very similar in color and size (Figure 1). So, it is easy to see how a mix-up can happen. Many other self-injectable medicines come in various forms, such as a pen, syringe, or vial. So a similar error could happen with other self-injectable medicines as well.

Here’s what you can do: When picking up your prescription for a self-injectable medicine, ask to speak to the pharmacist. Before leaving the pharmacy counter, open up the bag and look at the medicine packages to make sure they are what you expect (pens, syringes, or vials). If the medicine is delivered to you, look at the packages to make sure they are what you expect. If there is a discrepancy, contact your pharmacy. If this is your first time using the medicine, ask the pharmacist to demonstrate how to use the pen or syringe, or contact your doctor to set up injection training.

Created on February 16, 2022

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