Improved Communication May Reduce Drug Errors at Home
Reports submitted to the UnitedStates Pharmacopeia (USP) have revealedthat taking the wrong dose ofmedication and forgetting to take a prescriptionmedicine altogether are themost common drug errors in the home.
The causes of these errors includecommunication problems (21% ofpatients) and a lack of knowledge(19% of patients). A lack of patient-specificlabeling on drug samples providedby physicians' offices is anotherreason. Patients said that these sampleswere usually given without informationabout the drug's use, sideeffects, and warnings. In many cases,when it came to taking medication athome, patients reported that they didnot understand how to take their medications,misunderstood dosing abbreviations,or did not question when theappearance of the product or instructionson refilled prescriptions variedfrom the original prescription. In aneffort to reduce the risk of errors athome, health care professionals needto establish better communicationand patient-counseling processes.