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Patients add to prescription errors


Mistakes in prescribing drugs and medication are not helped by patients not knowing what they are supposed to be taking, according to research in the US.

It has found that 44% of patients, “the last link in the medication administration chain”, believed they were receiving a medication they were not.

Says Ethan Cumbler at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine: “We found significant deficits in patient understanding of their hospital medications, even among those who believed they knew what is being prescribed to them.”

The research found that 96% of patients were unable to recall the name of at least one medication that they had been prescribed while in hospital.

Antibiotics figure high on the list – 17% – followed by cardiovascular (16%), and antithrombotics (15%). For drugs that may be taken as needed, analgesics (33%) and gastrointestinal medications (29%) are commonly not recalled.

The findings are published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Copyright Press Association 2009

University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine

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