- Recurring themes in lawsuits against pharmacists include high-alert medications, long-acting opioids, Stevens- Johnson Syndrome, unusual and off-label prescribing, and excessive refills.
- High alert medications combine high risk of error with serious adverse outcomes. In community/ambulatory care pharmacy practice settings, 8 classes of high-alert medications and 8 specific medications have been identified.
- Children under age 5 are at higher risk of drug-related injury compared to older children. Several strategies can be implemented by pharmacists to protect children against medication errors.
- Injuries to older patients that result in lawsuits often result from failure to identify contraindications or drug interactions, and from dispensing the wrong medication.
- Drugs or off-label indications that pharmacists are not up-to-date on comprise dangerous territory.
- Increased vigilance and a careful review of prescribed opioid therapy are needed when treating post-op pain with opioids.
- Two key quality assurance resources are the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement – membership is free.
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