Study Finds Frequency of Pain Relieving Medication Errors in Hospitals

According to a recent study in The Journal of Pain, that our prescription error attorneys based in Rockland, Maryland have been following, medication errors involving pain relievers, or analgesics, including errors made in prescribing, are a substantial contributor to adverse patient events in pain therapy that are preventable.

The study was performed in a hospital facility with 631 beds, and found that the frequency of pain medication errors in hospitals to be 3 per 1,000 prescriptions.

Researchers at the Albany Medical Center in the state of New York reportedly found in previous research that a major number of prescription analgesic errors are preventable, occurring in all stages of the prescription medication usage process, with the primary cause being prescribing errors. The researchers then combed through a large database containing prescribing errors that had been previously prevented by pharmacists in order to pinpoint the main characteristics associated with an increased risk for medication errors.

The overall drug error rate in the study was found to be 2.87 errors per 1,000 orders with a drug prescribing error rate of .63 per 1000 that was potentially serious. Error rates with analgesics were reportedly found to be higher in pediatric orders, a topic discussed in our pharmacy error injury blog from last week.

The authors of the study advised that prescriber order entry systems that are computerized can help to reduce errors, but that there should also be other safeguards implemented that limit the number of similar medications available on the reviews of prescription drug orders by nurses and pharmacists for every painkiller prescribed, in order to eliminate prescribing errors that can lead to patient injury or harm.

Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers represent victims of medication error in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area. For a free consultation, contact our attorneys today.

Frequency of analgesic drug errors in hospitals is nearly 3 per 1000 prescriptions: Study,, January 28, 2011
Analgesic medication errors are common, ModernMedicine, February 3, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Study Finds Small Doses of Drugs From Syringes Could Cause Medication Error in Children, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 4, 2011
Children’s Hospital Launches Initiative to Prevent Medication Error, Pharmacy Error Injury Blog, November 1, 2010

Institute of Medicine (IOM)

The Journal of Pain

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports

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