Pharmacy Errors Involving High-Alert Medications

While all prescription drugs pose risks if taken in large quantities or by certain patients taking other medications, some medications have such a high likelihood of being involved in a Maryland pharmacy error that they have been labeled as “high-alert” medications. According to a recent industry news report, high-alert medications are those that have an increased probability of negative interaction when taken with another commonly prescribed drug, have serious side effects even when taken alone, or must be taken in very specific doses to ensure that the medication is effective.

capsulesWhile many types of medication are high-alert, some commonly seen high-alert medications in out-patient pharmacies are chemotherapy medication, pediatric solutions, insulin, and opioids. The list of high-alert medications in hospital pharmacies is similar and includes epinephrine and hypoglycemic agents. That being said, it is understood that insulin presents the highest risk of all medications, due to the various forms and doses of the drug as well as the high-risk status of many insulin patients.

The article details certain steps that pharmacies should implement when filling prescriptions for high-alert medications. For example, using system alerts whenever a pharmacist fills a high-alert medication triggers a cue for the pharmacist to provide additional counseling to the patient regarding the high-alert medication. System alerts may also be set to alert pharmacists to patients who present an especially high risk of being a victim of an error.

The article urges pharmacies to create a pharmacy-specific high-alert list that takes into account the challenges of the specific pharmacy. For example, if a pharmacy is located in an area near a large assisted-living facility and serves a large number of elderly diabetes patients, that pharmacy may consider setting alerts based on a patient’s age or on the type of drug being dispensed.

It is also advised that two people always check off on every prescription for a high-alert medication, even when technologically advanced e-prescribing systems are used. The article notes that it is easy for a pharmacist to over-rely on technology when filling prescriptions, and such reliance may increase the pharmacist’s rate of error.

Recovering After a Maryland Pharmacy Error

Pharmacies have a duty to make sure that patients are provided their proper medication in its proper dose. Additionally, pharmacists should advise patients if they are prescribed medications that have a negative interaction with each other. When a pharmacist fails to live up to this duty, they may be held liable through a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit. To learn more, contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

Have You Been a Victim of a Maryland Pharmacy Error?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a pharmacist’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit. The dedicated personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing pharmacy error victims in a wide range of prescription error cases, including errors occurring at hospital and retail pharmacies. We have a large network of expert witnesses on-call whom we consult to help prove our clients’ cases. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Study Shows E-Prescribing Has Decreased Pharmacy Error Rates, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, October 9, 2017.

New Insulin Use Guidelines Aim to Reduce Risk of Insulin Prescription Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, October 2, 2017.

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