Chewing Some Prescription Medications Can be Harmful

In litigating Maryland pharmacy error cases, our pharmacy negligence attorneys have learned some interesting facts about different drugs, their effects, and the proper manner they are designed to be ingested. Drug manufacturers design medications with a specific method of patient ingestion in mind. Some drugs are designed to be administered through an IV, some are slow release medications that must be swallowed, and others are specifically designed to be chewed and released quickly into the patient’s blood stream.

Other methods of ingestion also exist, for example, some drugs must be taken in form of eye, ear, or nose drops. Still other medications are designed to be absorbed through a patient’s skin.

The varying methods of drug transmission can be daunting and many patients place too much confidence in their pharmacist or doctor and fail to ask questions so that they completely understand their dosage instructions. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices published the story of a woman who suffered from similar overconfidence and died as a result of a negligently prescribed medication. The story is a warning for others to make sure they understand their dosage instructions.

A doctor prescribed an 83 year old patient Cardizem to control her blood pressure. The patient chewed the pills since the pills were too large to swallow. As a result, the patient’s heart rate slowed to dangerous levels, and the woman’s family contacted her pharmacist for assistance. The pharmacist suggested that the physician prescribe a form of the same drug that came in chewable capsules.

Months later, the patient returned to her physician for a check up and the physician put her back on Cardizem without warning the patient not to chew the pills. The patient subsequently began to chew the pills, over time became weaker and died three weeks later.

This story reminds us of the need to carefully question our health care providers until we fully understand the dosage instructions that come along with our prescriptions. According to the patient’s family, she was a smart and alert woman, who just put too much faith in her providers’ instructions and failed to ask questions.

Contact our Maryland and DC area pharmacy error attorneys if you or a loved one has suffered injuries caused by a negligent pharmacist.

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