Taking Medications at Home

 

Here’s advice about seemingly harmless over-the-counter eye drops, such as Visine and similar products containing the active ingredients tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, or naphazoline. These drugs are quite dangerous if ingested. Severe side effects have been documented after swallowing as little as a half of teaspoonful.

Most people wouldn’t think twice about the potential for harm when applying over-the-counter creams, lotions, ointments, sprays or patches to the skin. However, we recently received a report about a patient who was hospitalized for burns after using an over-the-counter (OTC) cream for muscle pain. The patient, who was using ICY HOT Medicated Patches, sustained 2nddegree burns over the area of his chest where the patch had been placed. The size of the burn was reported to be 9 cm by 5.5 cm (about 3 ½ inches by 2 inches). Fortunately, the patient is now fine.

Companies often use color on products to capture attention or differentiate items. For instance, bright colors may draw your attention to a specific word or detail on a label. Companies also use color to distinguish different products within their brand.

With millions of Americans suffering from diabetes, there has been tremendous growth in the use of insulin. For convenience, many insulin dependent diabetics carry their insulin in a prefilled syringe available from drug manufacturers. The device is called an insulin pen because it looks similar to a writing pen and can be carried in your pocket. An insulin pen is designed to give multiple injections of insulin after changing the single use attachable needle.

Patients who keep an EpiPen on hand in case of a severe allergic attack need to know about a potentially dangerous mix-up between the actual pen and a similar looking training pen.

A nurse visited a homebound woman who continued to have high blood sugar levels despite doubling her insulin dose for about 2 weeks. The nurse questioned the woman about factors that may be causing the sudden need for more insulin. The woman had been eating her usual diet. She had no signs of infection or decrease in physical activity. She was sleeping well, and there was no new stress in her life. The technique and materials she used to test her blood sugar were appropriate. Any one of these factors could influence the dose of insulin required to keep her blood sugar under control, but nothing unusual was discovered.

Most pills you need to swallow are available commercially in the dosage strengths commonly prescribed for patients. Or, if need be, a liquid or suspension might be available. But this is not always the case. Occasionally, the exact dose of medication you need is not available commercially, so part of a tablet or capsule may be needed.

Durezol is a steroid eye drop prescribed to reduce swelling and pain after eye surgery. Unbelievably, there’s a wart remover with a very similar name called Durasal. The wart remover is a strong salicylic acid (26%) solution. Both products come in small applicator bottles. You can guess what can happen, especially since patients who undergo eye surgery often have difficulty reading medication labels.

Inhalers are devices that contain medicines used to treat asthma and several other diseases that affect the lungs. By inhaling the medicine from the device, asthma sufferers and people with other lung diseases can breathe easier. It is important to learn how to properly use an inhaler and when to use it. This is especially true for people with asthma. Asthma is a breathing condition that affects both children and adults. Many people often need more than one medicine/inhaler to treat their asthma.

People who have a severe life-threatening allergic reaction to bee stings, peanuts, shellfish, or other causes must get help immediately. A medicine called epinephrine (adrenaline) slows down allergic reactions and can prevent a reaction from getting worse. Doctors often recommend that patients (or parents of young children) carry epinephrine injection with them in a prefilled syringe or at least keep one close by. EpiPen or one of its generic equivalents is then prescribed.

Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

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