General Medication Errors

Medication error may be related to error/deficiency in any one or combination of the followings:

  • Professional practice                        
  • Health care products
  • Procedures/ policies
  • System

five rights medication 2

In addition to these mentioned causes the medication error may result from physiological or social factors/causes.

Physiological causes of medication error:

Each Patient shows unique response to medication which highlights the importance of medication safety. Every person is genetically unique i.e. not same, and the speed at which the body can processes medications may vary tremendously from patient to patient.

For example, a patient may lack an enzyme that helps in removing or eliminating medication from the body, thus may leading to serious harm or even death from an error. Similarly a patient’s kidney functioning is also a physiological cause of medication error.

Social causes of medication error:

Such type of medication errors include failure to follow medication therapy instructions because of cost, noncompliance, or a misunderstanding of instructions (language or cultural barriers).

Patient can also contribute to medication error by:

  • Forgetting to take a dose or doses
  • Taking too many dose
  • Dosing at wrong time
  • Not getting a prescription filled or refilled in timely manner
  • Not following direction on dose administration
  • Terminating the drug regimen too soon

In any event discussed, all of these social circumstances create the potential for medication error.

Abid Ali @abidaliphm

Doctor of Pharmacy

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