Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Do you know which heart medication you’re taking? If you’re on Pradaxa or Ranexa, your pharmacist might not be able to tell you, either.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has released a warning concerning three drugs that have caused several sound-alike medication errors. The first two, Pradaxa and Ranexa, are both heart medications; however, they have very dissimilar effects.
Pradaxa is used to treat a heart rhythm disturbance called atrial fibrillation: the heart’s upper chambers don’t beat regularly, increasing the risk of blood clots. Pradaxa acts as a blood thinner, decreasing the risk of stroke. Ranexa, on the other hand, is used to treat angina or chest pain and does not have any anticoagulant properties.
The ISMP’s Medication Errors Reporting Program has discovered several pharmacy dispensing errors between these medications, especially since they are both grouped under “heart medication”. Patients who mistakenly receive Ranexa would be at serious risk of stroke, since they would not be getting a much-needed blood thinner. Conversely, someone who gets Pradaxa instead of Ranexa may be in danger of hemorrhage due to a lack of blood clotting. In addition, both drugs have been been confused with Prenexa, a prenatal vitamin. A pregnant patient may be at risk of hemorrhage or other complications if she receives the anticoagulant instead of her prescribed treatment.
Since many of these mistakes are due to handwriting issues, electronic prescriptions may help reduce the number of occurrences. Typed drug names are more legible than written ones, and are much less likely to be misread; however, an overworked staff may still confuse the drugs if they are not giving the patient their full attention.
If someone in your family received the wrong medication from the pharmacy, you may be eligible for compensation. Our pharmacy error injury lawyerscan advise you of your legal rights in your FREE consultation. Call Kennedy Hodges today at (888) 526-7616 or fill out our online contact form.
Not sure you need a lawyer for your case? Click the link above and we’ll rush you a FREE copy of our consumer guide, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.