Friday, November 30, 2012

Discontinued Meds May Still Get Dispensed

According to an article published in U.S. News Health, doctors sometimes fail to tell a pharmacist that their patient has been taken off a certain medication, and the prescription for the drug will continue to be refilled. 

A new study has found that “1.5 percent of all discontinued medications were refilled by the pharmacy and that 12 percent of those refilled medications caused some degree of potential harm to the patients.” 

This newly identified patient safety issue can cause many problems, such as allergic reactions, low blood pressure, lightheadedness or nausea.  

The problem arises when doctors assume that a patient will remember to stop taking a drug after they have been taken off it, or that discontinuing a medication in a patient’s electronic health record is automatically transmitted to the pharmacy.  

Future research needs to evaluate methods of improving communication between providers and pharmacies.
Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

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