Here's a scary statistic: according to a new study, half of all heart patients make serious medication errors when they go home from the hospital, even when they have help.
The research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, followed patients who had had a heart attack or suffered heart failure and were recently released from care. More than 800 people were included in the study. Half were randomly assigned to a program where pharmacists worked to make sure their prescriptions were accurately dispensed, and discussed medication use during treatment and after discharge. Pharmacists also called the patients after they went home. The remainder of the group were left to their own vigilance.
Half of the patients had a medication error during the first month after their discharge from the hospital, regardless of whether they had a pharmacist follow-up. The most vulnerable patients were those with multiple medications or those with low health literacy.
The researchers conclude that more effort is needed to prevent medication errors in cardiac patients.
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