In the News: Medication Errors Hit Home

Monday, July 31, 2017

Medication errors are on the rise, particularly those that occur in the home, according to a recent study published in Clinical Toxicology.

By analyzing data collected from poison control centers, the study found that reported medication adverse events occurring outside of care settings more than doubled from 3,065 cases in 2000 to 6,855 in 2012. One-third resulted in hospital admission.

The study was discussed in “More People Are Making Mistakes with Medicines at Home” from NPR and “Patient Medication Errors Doubled Over 13 Years” from HealthLeaders Media.

These at-home drug errors affected Americans of all ages and covered a wide swath of medications. Problems stemmed from common mistakes, such as taking the wrong pill or wrong dose and not waiting long enough between doses.

The NPR article acknowledged that the study’s findings likely have “minor inaccuracies” due to the fact that not every person suffering an adverse drug event would contact a poison control center and that data collected by these centers is reliant on accurate reporting from patients. Nonetheless, Jay Schauben, a former president of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, told NPR the study was useful because: “We focus on medication errors in healthcare facilities, and we tend to forget that these types of errors do occur in the home scenario and potentially go uncorrected, maybe unrecognized.”

“Drug manufacturers and pharmacists have a role to play when it comes to reducing medication errors,” Henry Spiller, a co-author of the study, told HealthLeaders Media. “There is room for improvement in product packaging and labeling. Dosing instructions could be made clearer, especially for patients and caregivers with limited literacy or numeracy.”

Read the full articles:

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