Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Scary Medication Misadventure

Did you know that over one-million people each year are harmed by medication errors? This is why it is imperative that you must personally become involved in your own, and your children's, health care. Please don't ever assume that a mistake cannot happen to you. They occur more easily than you might imagine. But you can personally help prevent these errors from harming you or your loved ones.

Ask your doctor to explain the prescription to you, and understand it before you leave his/her office. When picking up your prescription at the pharmacy, please double-check and question everything about it before you leave. Make sure you aren't getting someone else's prescription - double-check your name, address, the medication name, what it's used for, how it's to be taken.

Most importantly, always make sure to discuss it with the pharmacist, not the cashier or a pharmacy technician. Many errors can be prevented by performing these few simple steps.


  1. According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices May 31st QuarterWatch(pdf) -

    "For the calendar year of 2011 an estimated 2 to 4 million persons suffered serious, disabling, or fatal injury associated with prescription drug therapy, based on our analysis of a full year of reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."

    If you ask me, those are some SERIOUS bad numbers with a lot of room for improvement. And what drug topped the 2011 list for causing harm by a wide margin?

    Nope, it's not warfarin as most pharmacists might have expected. It was, as I previously forecast upon it's release to the market, dabigatran (Pradaxa), at 817 reports versus second-place warfarin, at 490 reports.

    According to QuarterWatch, dabigatran accounted for 3,781 domestic, serious adverse events overall in 2011 (both manufacturer and direct reports), including 542 patient deaths. It surpassed all other regularly monitored drugs in reports of hemorrhage (2,367 cases), acute renal failure (291), and stroke (644). It was also suspect in 15 cases of liver failure.

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