Saturday, July 22, 2006

Why I recommend people take charge of their own health, and get off drugs whenever possible...

The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine estimates at least 1.5 million adverse drug events are preventable.

The study, "Preventing Medical Errors" found that while some of the adverse drug events that occur each year in the United States are inevitable due to the many side effects of drugs in general, at least one quarter, or 1.5 million of these "ADE"s are due to errors in prescribing, dispensing, administering, or monitoring medications. Even without taking into account errors of omission in prescribing drugs, the authors of the study note that the true number of preventable errors is probably much higher than the 1.5 million figure.

The authors of the IOM report state that on average, a hospital patient is subject to at least one medication error per day (although rates vary across facilities), which increases the cost of hospitalization significantly. One study of Medicare patients estimated a cost of $887 million dollars resulting from the treatment of medication errors each year, which did not include lost earnings or pain and suffering rewards.

To combat this situation, the report recommends a greater partnership between patients and health care providers. Patients need to assume more responsibility by monitoring the effects of their medications, keeping records, and communicating with their physicians. In turn, the health care system needs to provide more and better information to patients concerning the medications they are taking, and offer more opportunities for patients to consult with their providers. Additionally, electronic prescription systems should be implemented which will eliminate errors that arise from hand-written prescriptions. These systems also provide information on the drugs being prescribed and can interface with patient history to determine the presence of allergies, or other drugs in use by the patient, and this information can be transferred along with the patient to other facilities.

Better labeling and packaging of medications by the manufacturer is another area that can be improved to help eliminate medication errors.

The authors of the report conclude that "the current state of affairs is not acceptable." They recommend federally funded studies on the prevention of medication errors, and that more training in medication management be required by accreditation agencies.

Comment: I think that everyone needs to look at what drugs they're taking and see what their side effects are. Then try to see if you can taper down or illuminate some, if possible.

Please review this blog... You may not believe it, but it's true.

Check your drugs for side effects.

Christopher Wiechert, C.N.C.

Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. If you decide to use this information on your own, it's your constitutional right, but I assume no responsibility.

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