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Stopping 10-fold strength medication errors

Oklahoma may receive medications with drug strengths that are off by factor of 10. In fact, such mistakes are a common type of medication error. It is the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies to stop the issuance of 10-fold dosages to prevent the harm that can result.

Many reports regarding dosage strengths that vary by a factor of 10 have been filed with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. The drug Abilify features in multiple cases in which 20 mg was dispensed to patients who should have received only 2 mg. There was one in which a 7-year-old patient received 68 doses of the drug, which was 10 times over what had been prescribed. The patient cried often and became withdrawn and depressed.

Another error that was reported pertained to the drug Belbuca, which is intended to be used to manage severe pain that can only be properly treated with long-term, continuous and daily opioid treatment. One patient reported receiving 750mcg instead of the starting dose of 75mcg. The reason for the error is unknown. The patients consumed five doses of the 750-mcg strength medication and experienced vomiting, dizziness and fatigue in addition to pain relief. When she advised her doctor that she was unable to withstand the medicine, she discovered that he had actually prescribed 75 mcg.

The use of trailing and leading zeros are increasing the likelihood of 10-fold overdoses. However, the mistakes would not occur if medication strengths lower or higher than a factor of 10 were tested and marketed. People who have been harmed by medication errors may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse they might have.