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Why are drug errors involving psychiatric medications especially dangerous?


A: Psychiatric medications differ from most other prescription drugs because they must be administered at certain times of day to be effective. Michael R. Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, says that errors occur in roughly five out of every 100 doses of medicine across the U.S. -- and when the medications involved are sedatives or antipsychotics, the danger of patient injury by drug error goes up.

"Most of the drugs [administered in hospitals], it does not matter if you give a tablet at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock," Cohen reported. "In that [psychiatric hospitals] setting, it's more important to have the drugs given at a very specific time or there can be problems."

Cohen explains that drug errors in psychiatric hospitals are also more dangerous than errors in a traditional hospital setting, because a minor change in the dosage of powerful antipsychotic drug can have severe effects on a patient.

Adverse drug reactions are also more likely if a person is taking multiple medications, which is frequently the case for psychiatric inpatients.In addition, many of these hospital mediation errors go unreported -- especially if they are caught before any harm was done to the patient. 

The Institute of Medicine estimates that medication errors harm over 1.5 million people every year--and the patient cost of treating medication-related injuries is around $3.5 billion. Our prescription drug error lawyersdon’t believe that a victim should be liable for these costs; that’s why we work to get you compensation for your suffering and payment for the treatment you need to heal.

Call Kennedy Hodges today at 888-526-7616 to get a free consultation on your case, orclick the link above to receive a FREE copy of our book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.

David W. Hodges
Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law