According to the Times, more people died from drugs than vehicle accidents and this trend is, unfortunately, being fueled by prescription pain and anxiety medications such as Vicodin, Xanax and other prescriptions which are common in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community. Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients will likely be surprised to learn that, "Dosing errors occur frequently in patients with Renal Failure," according to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. This has contributed to the drug fatalities which more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69.
Recommended Reading: Chronic Kidney Disease Patients' Current Medication Regimens "Probably Too Low"
Loretta Macpherson was checked into a local emergency room and never made it out after a pharmacy worker inadvertently filled her IV bag with the wrong drug, reported Fox News. Though doctors were able to resuscitate Macpherson, she had suffered brain damage and was taken off life support two days later. Similarly, Geraldine Oswald tragically passed away at Massachusetts General when hospital staff gave the 76-year-old woman far too much of a blood thinning drug, making it impossible for her blood to clot when she began bleeding internally.
Recommended Reading: Easy Ways to Remember to Take your Medication
When discussing dosing errors, patients immediately think of mistakes made on the part of Medical Professionals. However, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients often take numerous drugs and are at a greater risk of harmful drug interactions that occur between different medications, over-the-counter vitamins, foods, and drinks. Drug interactions can change the way your medications act in your body, making them less effective or worse - causing unexpected and potentially dangerous side effects and in some cases death.
Moreover, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients that are not consistent with taking their medications and adhering to their Nephrologists' advice are at a much higher risk of "hospitalization, rehospitalization, and premature death," according to Sharecare.com. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that they receive and review "about 300 medication error reports each month." Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients can help improve their health outcomes and limit risk of dosage errors by noting the following tips offered by the FDA:
1. Find out what drug you're taking and what it is for. Rather than simply letting the doctor write you a prescription and send you on your way, be sure to ask the name of the drug. Also, ask the doctor to put the purpose of the prescription on the order. This serves as a check in case there is some confusion about the drug name.
2. If you're in the hospital, ask (or have a friend or family member ask) what drugs you are being given and why.
3. Find out how to take the drug and make sure you understand the directions. If you are told to take a medicine three times a day, does that mean exactly eight hours apart or at mealtimes? Should the medicine be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator? Are there any medications, beverages, or foods you should avoid?
4. Look out for any special instructions.
5. Ask about what medication side effects you might expect and what you should do about them.
6. Read the bottle's label every time you take a drug to avoid mistakes. In the middle of the night, you could mistake ear drops for eye drops, or accidentally take a painkiller for a vitamin because they look similar.
7. If you take multiple medications and have trouble keeping them straight, ask your doctor or pharmacist about compliance aids, such as containers with sections for daily doses. Family members can help by reminding you to take your medicine.
8. Keep a list of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, as well as dietary supplements, medicinal herbs, and other substances you take for health reasons, and report it to your health care providers. The often-forgotten things that you should tell your doctor about include vitamins, laxatives, sleeping aids, and skin ointments.
9. If in doubt, ask, ask, ask. Be on the lookout for clues of a problem, such as if your pills look different than normal or if you notice a different drug name or different directions than what you thought. It's best to be cautious and ask questions if you're unsure about anything.
Have you ever had a dosage error? What was the medication and how did it happen? Sharing your experience could very well help to save another Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient's life. Leave your response at the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page (over 33,000 Friends), and while you are there, be sure to like the page so you do not miss any of the lively Chronic Kidney Disease related discussion. Also, follow our over 115,000 monthly viewers and visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly for the latest breaking news and information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure how to better manage and improve their lives.