Every year, as many as 7,000 Americans die because of medication errors. Many of these deaths are preventable and, in spite of efforts to reduce prescription mistakes, these tragedies persist. Developing an understanding as to how these problems arise is the best way to anticipate problems and avoid being hurt by drugs that, for the most part, help to heal our pain, treat our illnesses and prolong out lives.
Certain medications are more frequently involved than others in adverse drug events. These are situations where the use or misuse of the medication causes negative health consequences, often requiring treatment in a hospital emergency room. On this list of drugs are several that are quite familiar and commonly used—insulin, aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and some antibiotics. Unintentional overdose is the greatest cause of injury, followed by side effects and allergic reactions. The widespread use of these medicines also adds to their potential for misuse, by taking incorrect doses, taking doses at the wrong times, forgetting to take the medication and stopping use too soon.
30 million Americans take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen) for arthritis and joint pain, either by prescription or over the counter. Misuse of these drugs translates to well over 100,000 hospitalizations a year, 16,000 deaths and avoidable side effects like digestive problems, peptic ulcer and gastrointestinal bleeding. Another high volume prescription item, antibiotics, are often prescribed inappropriately for colds, upper respiratory infections and bronchitis, all caused by viruses and none of them treatable by antibiotics.
A medication error is an unintentional act committed by a healthcare provider, usually involving the misuse or mishandling of a drug. Commonly occurring errors include mistaking one drug for another with a similar name or packaging, misreading dosage amounts, or improperly reconstituting the medication, such as by using alcohol instead of distilled water.
The ten medications most often involved in drug errors are:
- Potassium Chloride
Contact The Orlow Firm Today
If you or a loved one has been harmed by pharmacist negligence involving these or other drugs, the attorneys at The Orlow Firm are available to assist you with a caring and competent legal consultation.
Contact our New York City personal injury law firm today by calling (646) 647-3398.