Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Initiative Is Aimed at Reducing Preventable Drug Injuries

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Initiative Is Aimed at Reducing Preventable Drug Injuries

Article excerpt

SILVER SPRING, MD.--Reducing preventable injuries from medication errors, misuse, and abuse is the goal of an initiative being launched by the Food and Drug Administration, agency officials announced at a briefing.

The agency's Safe Use Initiative is intended to "reduce preventable harm by identifying specific, preventable medication risks and developing, implementing, and evaluating cross-sector interventions with partners who are committed to safe medication use," according to the FDA.

In addition to health care professionals, partners in the initiative will include federal agencies, professional societies, pharmacies, hospitals, and manufacturers, as well as patients, caregivers, and consumers.

Drugs, drug classes, and therapeutic-situations associated with preventable harm will be identified as part of the initiative.

In addition, the initiative will use measures of success to evaluate the impact of those interventions, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA commissioner, said during the briefing.

Each year, adverse events from drug use result in more than 4 million visits to emergency rooms, physicians' offices, and outpatient facilities, and 117,000 hospitalizations, she said.

As many as half of all medication injuries--which include problems such as dosing errors, mix-ups during drug administration, and unintentional misuse of the medication--could be prevented with currently available information about the medication, according to Dr. Hamburg.

During the briefing, Dr. Janet Woodcock, who will be spearheading the initiative, distinguished between the events targeted by the initiative and inherent medication risks that are not preventable, such as side effects of chemotherapy

Most preventable injuries are caused by a lack of knowledge about the medication, including by prescfibers and patients at the point of care, said Dr. Woodcock, who serves as director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Dr. Woodcock said the agency has discussed the initiative with physicians' and nurses' professional groups, and will seek input from the health care community and the public to determine what they perceive to be the biggest problems. …

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