Prescription Errors – Sources of Errors in Prescription

What are prescription errors?

“Any preventable event that may cause inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer”

Errors in Prescription:

1. Abbreviation:

  • In most of the prescriptions, abbreviated terms are used by the prescriber that leads to major errors during interpretation by the pharmacists. For example: ‘SSKI’ is the abbreviated term of ‘Saturated Solution of Potassium Iodide’. It is preferable to avoid these types of misleading abbreviations.

2. Name of the drugs:

  • Names of some drugs (especially the brand names) either looks or sounds like. So any error in the name of a drug will lead to major danger to the patient. e.g. Althrocin – Eltroxin, Acidin – Apidin etc

3. Strength of the preparation:

  • Drugs are available in the market in various strengths. So a drug must not be dispensed if the strength is not written in the prescription. For example, Paracetamol tablet 500 mg should not be dispensed when no strength is mentioned in the prescription.

4. Dosage form of the drug prescribed:

  • Many drugs are available in more than one dosage form e.g. liquid, tablets, injections, or suppositories. The dosage form intended for the patient must be mentioned in the prescription to reduce ambiguity.

5. Dose:

  • If an unusually high or low dose is mentioned in the prescription then it must be consulted with the prescriber. Sometimes a sustained-release (SR) dosage form is prescribed thrice or more times daily. Sustained Release dosage forms should be given once or twice a day.

6. Instructions to the patient:

  • Sometimes the instruction for a certain preparation is either omitted or mentioned partially. The quantity of the drug to be taken, the frequency and timing of administration, and the route of administration should be mentioned clearly so that it is easy for patients to take medicine.

7. Incompatibilities:

  • It is essential to check that there are no pharmaceutical or therapeutic incompatibilities in the prescription. If more than two medicines are prescribed then the pharmacist must see whether their interactions will produce any harm to the patient or not. Certain drugs have interactions with food. The pharmacist has to advise the patient about it. For example, Tetracycline should not be taken with milk or antacid.
Make sure you also check our other amazing Article on : Handling of Prescription
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