There are numerous reasons patients stop taking medication against their physician’s advice. They might feel better (or, thanks to side effects, feel worse). They might not be able to reach the pharmacy. The cost might be too steep. Then, of course, there is the potential for medications to be prescribed from a number of points of care, which is leading to more challenges regarding medication reconciliation. Whatever the cause, poor medication adherence has significant costs for both the individual and the health system.
Worldwide, medication errors cause at least one death per day and cost an estimated $43 billion annually (1% of global health expenditures). In the U.S. alone, 1.3 million people are injured annually due to medication errors. All these errors are potentially avoidable, says the WHO, so long as the right systems and procedures are put into action.
A proposed Senate bill limits the amount of opioids a patient can initially receive for acute pain. If passed, physicians will only be able to prescribe seven days’ worth of opioids when first treating a patient’s condition.
Remind nurses and other clinicians to remain alert for medication errors, including mislabeled products. And empower them to say something if they suspect a problem.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new global initiative earlier this month, one that aims to halve the rate of medication errors by 2022.
To best promote patient safety, it is crucial to seek out information about external errors, to hold on to your initial feelings of surprise and uncertainty when you read about these errors, and to resist the temptation to gloss over what happened or attribute the problem to an individual different than you.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) released its 2016–2017 Targeted Medication Safety Best Practices for Hospitals guide in December 2015. This year there were five new best practices and two revised out of 11 total.
The just-departed commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has concerns about plans to speed up drug approvals and dramatically reduce regulations at the agency, as advocated recently by President Donald Trump.
More hospitals and health systems are waking up to the risks of under-monitoring patients at risk for respiratory depression.
The problem: Today, several longstanding medications are available on the market with names that begin with the prefix “Depo-,” meaning they are administered via a depot injection that deposits the drug into localized tissue from which it is gradually absorbed by surrounding tissue.