Monday, October 29, 2007

Pharmacy Mistakes

Hello Everyone,

There has been some press this morning about the increase in pharmacy errors. Since you are now on your way to becoming INFORMED medication consumers, here are some helpful hints:

Note: some of these hints were posted on a CNN article written by Elizabeth Cohen with quotes from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (Hedy Cohen) University of California-San Diego (Dr. David Phillips) and the American Pharmacist Association (APhA Mitch Rothholz)

Take some responsibility for your own medications. Know what you are taking and why. Know what the tablets, capsules look like that you are taking. If the tablets / capsules in the new refill you just received does not look the same, ASK!!!!! Do everything you can to make sure that the drugs inside the bottle are the ones that are supposed to be there.

At pharmacies across America, the beginning of the month is extremely busy. The reason? Medicare entitlements renew at the beginning of the month. Social security checks are received at the beginning of the month. Dr. Phillips' research indicated that pharmacy errors increase by 25% above normal the first few days of the month. Try to schedule your refills for the middle or end of the month.

Don't wait until the last minute to get your refills. Plan Ahead.

When the Dr. writes you a new prescription, ask him/her what the drug is for. What is the name of the drug, the strength. Make sure the writing on the prescription is LEGIBLE!. Many pharmacy errors occur because the pharmacist mis-reads the prescription. The referenced AOL article talks about a lawsuit that was filed because a patient was given Matulane instead of Materna. You may be able to imagine how those two drugs could be mis-read having seen some of the chicken scratch that is out there. (Chickens, Please don't take offense and send me some threatening emails)

It's curious to realize that many people will research and read on the latest wines, cheeses and other food items and can quote the latest "Wine Spectator" score on that vintage of 2005 Merlot. However, they will not take the time and energy to know about the medication they are taking to control their diabetes.

Since you are reading this article, I'll try to help educate you on drug items of interest.

Be vigilant,

Dr. Paul

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