Preventing Drug Errors - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/4/03

Preventing Drug Errors

Patients fall victim to 1.9 million drug errors every year, and over a fourth of those are likely preventable. That's according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School after studying the records on more than 30,000 people age 65 and over for a year. That research team documented about 1,500 drug errors in that senior age group.

"The adverse drug events that we observed in this study were associated with the most common medications that older people use, including heart medicine, diuretics, blood thinners and pain relievers," says Dr. Jerry Gurwitz, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Gurwitz says almost 40% of those adverse drug events were serious, life-threatening or fatal. He says the best way to prevent drug errors is to make sure health care providers and patients have all the information they need about each medication at the time of prescription, including information about drug interactions with any other medication the patient is taking.

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