Medication Errors and Mistakes
Adverse Drug Reactions
A medication error is any preventable event involving prescription medicine that may cause the patient harm.
Medication errors are an important issue because some of these mistakes result in adverse reactions to drugs, causing permanent injury or death. Between 1983 and 1993, the number of people who died from medication errors rose from 2,876 to 7,391, an increase of about 250%.
Most medication errors result from health care providers not following the basic guidelines of medication ordering, preparation, and administration. The physician is expected to be knowledgeable about the drugs and medicines prescribed, and the pharmacist is expected to dispense the correct drug and dosage. Nurses should also know enough about the medications in order to question erroneous orders or identify possible dangerous drug combinations.
An incident of this type could be a "serious reaction" for the purpose of reporting a suspected drug injury to the FDA MedWatch program.
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