DENVER (CBS4) – Even with all the technology surrounding medicine and prescriptions, sometimes the wrong medication gets in patients’ bottles.
A Colorado Springs mother this week caught a serious mistake made by a Walgreens pharmacy. The prescription was for Motrin flu medication for a 2-year-old. Instead, Kathy Derosa was given an epilepsy drug for her toddler and her son nearly took the drug.
“The name wasn’t even close to his name for the medicine. You know, it wasn’t even in the regular type Motrin bottle,” Derosa said. “It was in a much smaller bottle which is what really caught my eye.”
She says she only noticed because she’s had Motrin before for her son. Derosa says she immediately called Walgreens and the pharmacy manager came to her house and delivered the right medication.
A 2003 study found prescription accuracy is a problem on a national level. It states errors happen at a rate of about four per day in a pharmacy filling 250 prescriptions daily. It’s estimated 51.5 million errors occur during the filling of three billion prescriptions each year.
Pharmacists blame demanding and distracting work conditions, understaffing, and illegible prescriber hand writing for mistakes.
The best advice is to take an active part in managing one’s health.
When getting a prescription from a doctor ask the following:
— What is the name of the medication?
— What affects does the medication have?
— What is the proper dosage?
— What side effects should you watch for?
— Are there any drug interactions that you should be aware of?
Then ask the pharmacist the same questions when picking up medication.
In Colorado Springs, Walgreens sent a statement that reads in part, “Prescription errors are rare and we take them very seriously … we are sorry this occurred … we will investigate what happened.”
Derosa knows had she not caught the mistake her little boy would have likely been hospitalized.
Make sure to pop the lid and check the medication before leaving the pharmacy counter as well. It gives both the patient and the pharmacist an opportunity to do a visual check together. Check the medications online as well.