Medication Errors Cut with Pharmacist Intervention--May 2009

Eileen Koutnik-Fotopoulos, Staff Writer
Published Online: Thursday, May 7, 2009
Follow Pharmacy_Times:

A new study underscores the crucial role pharmacists play in reducing medication errors and adverse drug reactions (ADRs).

Medication errors are one of the most common medical errors, affecting more than 1 million patients every year and costing the health care system billions of dollars annually, researchers noted in the April 27, 2009, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study looked at the effect of having pharmacists involved in medication decisions in reducing medication errors and adverse drug effects among 800 outpatients with high blood pressure. The group also included patients with heart failure or other heart conditions. The researchers used a computer program to identify ADRs among patients. The patient-pharmacist intervention group received instructions on using their medications. Furthermore, the pharmacists monitored the patients' drugs and communicated with both the patient and the patient's physician to help improve adherence to medication regimens.

The findings showed that the patient-pharmacist intervention group had less medication errors and ADRs, compared with the control group. Specifically, the risk was 34% lower for any event for the pharmacist group, including a 35% lower risk of an ADR and a 37% risk of medication error.

"This study shows the importance of having a pharmacist actively involved in asking how the patient is doing, what type of side effects is the patient having, and is the patient taking the medication," said Matthew Grissinger, RPh, a medication safety analyst for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. "That is as important as the initial consultation."

For other articles in this issue, see:

Drug Companies Ramp Up Swine Flu Drug Production

New Labels Coming for OTC Painkillers

On the Horizon--Performance-Based Contracts for Drugs?



Related Articles
Kelli Kovak, industry expert on the pharmacy benefit manager industry and health care network designs, gives her perspective on how new health networks will benefit the business of pharmacy, how this will impact on patient choice, and how private pharmacies can stay connected and competitive.
This weekly video program highlights the latest in pharmacy news, product approvals, FDA rulings, and more.
The dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy has 3 main pieces of advice for pharmacy students: show gratitude, be on the lookout for new opportunities, and never say never.
Why is there still a big divide on whether a residency can benefit a pharmacy career?
Latest Issues
  • photo
    Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Health-System Edition
    photo
    Directions in Pharmacy
    photo
    OTC Guide
    photo
    Generic Supplements
  • photo
    Pharmacy Careers
    photo
    Specialty Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Generic
$auto_registration$