Dispensing Error - Pregnant Women

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medication error Pregnanat Woman in India

Medication Error for a Pregnant Lady

We must, as a society of civilized people, learn certain basic rules, which will lead to an orderly, trouble free life. Whenever a situation arises where we are seeking some service from a limited number of counters and we are a big crowd, we must get into the habit of forming a queue. This will allow the person serving us to serve in peace, which will lead to better service.

The following incident was reported by a pharmacist friend and the reason for the confusion can only be the pressure created by a crowd competing for the attention of the service provider.

A pregnant lady came to the Pharmacists' counseling room with a prescription and some medicines. The prescription contained "cpm" which stands for chlorpheniramine maleate. The patient held in her hands, a strip of cefixime (antibiotic) tablets. Cefixime was not prescribed by the doctor. Pharmacist got concerned and went and reported this to the doctor. Doctor was angry that wrong drug product was dispensed. Then pharmacist went to the dispensing counter and advised the dispensing pharmacist about the error. The error was then corrected. Patient was given chlorpheniramine tablets. Pharmacist advised patient that she is likely to feel drowsy after taking chlorpheniramine and must not go to a stove, or go near a machine after consuming this medicine.

Dear Pharmacist friends, we have to learn the following points from this report:

  1. Cefixime is not advised to be given to pregnant women. ( CIMS India, CIMS-97, April 2007 (Update-2), page 364).
  2. Doctors should not use abbreviations in prescriptions.
  3. Doctors should exercise special precautions in the case of pregnant women.
  4. People must not pressurize service providers.
  5. Pharmacist must spend more time and attention on each prescription.
  6. Patients, especially pregnant women, must double check on the medicines they consume. After obtaining the medicines prescribed, they have to counter verify with the prescription and also show them to a doctor or a pharmacist before consuming them.

I may be looking like a person giving sermons, but I feel it is the duty of healthcare providers to bring awareness among people in general and among pharmacists in particular about the level of care and attention required when someone is handling or prescribing or dispensing or administering or consuming medicines.

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About the Author

Prof. J. Vijaya Ratna's picture

Dr. Vijaya Ratna Jayanthi serving Andhra University College of Pharmaceutical Sciences as Chairman, Pharmaceutical Technology Department.

Dr. J. Vijaya Ratna did her B.Pharm (1977), M.Pharm (1979), PGDAS (1981) and Ph.D (1998) at Andhra University Campus and won "M.L. Khorana Gold Medal" for standing University FIRST in graduation.

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