Medication Error


The evolution of the FDA, Food and Drug Act is quite interesting. As a nurse to read and learn about what it takes to get a drug an approved and on the market is quite time consuming. The trialing and the testing of each medication for approval the process can be over whelming.

New drug development takes anywhere from six to twelve years. There is a high failure rate of drugs that are submitted for approval, only one in five drugs may be approved. This process of approval can exceed finically 8 million dollars.

The topic of drug names is challenging for a clinical Nurse. It would be a lot easier if there was only one name for each drug. Instead we have several. The clinical, generic and trade names. The chemical name is a drug name that uses the nomenclature of chemistry that constitutes the makeup of the drug for its name. Generic name also known as the nonproprietary name or United States Adopted name. For the name of drug is assigned by the United States adopted names council. Finally we have the trade name or the brand name under which the drug is marketed. From a clinical point of view having more than one name for a medication raises a red flag towards patient safety. The first thing that comes to my mind is a possible missed medication due to confusion of the drug due to the names on the bottles or a possible drug over dose. Which could be accidental or intentional? This scenario would start to kick up my forensic nurse education. If we had a patient that overdosed many things there would be to consider. An investigation into all the medications that the individual would have had access to. Identify if the medications were provided by the same provider or possibly may different providers. This would raise the possibility of having the same drug that may have been labeled with a generic name and one with a brand name. This could lead to an accidental over dose due to lack of education of the medications and there different names. Forensic nursing always have to keep an open mind and to look at each occurrence from all different angles possibilities before making any conclusions.

Medication safety, you can never be too safe. Our patient have a responsibility to know what they are taking and why. But as a professional nurse we have the obligation to our patient to educate and to assess their understanding of our education to assist with preventing medication errors which could have a fatal or life altering outcome.

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