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Medication Errors Are On The Rise

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

The FDA receives more than 100,000 reports related to medication mistakes every year!

Unfortunately, when people take medication, mistakes can occur.

With more and more prescription medication being prescribed to patients and patients often taking multiple medications that look similar, mistakes are bound to happen.

What's Behind this Rise in Medication Errors?

Assorted Medication

The wrong pill could be taken, or pills could be taken at the wrong time, or too frequently, or in combination with the wrong medications.

While pills and tablets are small, the consequences of using them incorrectly can be extremely dangerous. As our population ages, mistakes related to pills and medication are on the rise.

According to an article published by the World Health Organization, almost 1.3 million people are harmed due to medication errors annually in the U.S.

These errors are largely due to people not following medication instructions, incorrect identification of medications, and, in some cases, incorrect dispensing of medications or dosages.

According to a study published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, these kinds of medication mistakes are only increasing, not decreasing.

For the study, researchers focused on medication errors that occurred outside of medical and healthcare facilities, which resulted in serious negative side effects. Researchers defined these as any situations that required treatment to prevent life-threatening situations or death.

Between 2000 and 2012, these events doubled from 3,065 to 6,855.

Nationwide Children's Hospital, CIRP Principal Investigator

According to Nichole Hodges, a research scientist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the lead researcher on the study, "We know that a third of the cases in this study resulted in hospital admissions, so these aren't minor errors. These can be pretty significant."

In many cases, many incidents with medications used incorrectly at home aren't counted by any studies, so the true numbers, particularly those situations that aren't life-threatening or don't require hospitalization, are probably much higher than reported.

"Since we're only including those non-health care facility errors that are reported to poison control centers, it's an underestimate of the true number," she says.

How Can We Make Prescription Medication Safer?

If you have ever tried to read the small symbols or names on pills and tablets and failed, you're not alone. When you are taking multiple pills at different times of the day, it's easy to get confused about which pills you should be taking and when, especially if you've transferred them to weekly or monthly pill containers.

Laxxon 3D printed medication with QR codes

Luckily, Laxxon Medical has come up with an innovative solution to the problem of pill identification.

We recently covered how 3D Screen Printing enables QR codes to be printed directly to the surface of medications and pills. You can read the full article here.

Thanks to 3D printing technology, you can quickly and easily scan a tablet or pill to determine not only what it is but much more. Almost all modern smartphones can easily scan a QR code using their camera, which then opens up an online page.

Some of the other details that could be included as part of the QR code could be brand information, dosage, side effects, batch numbers, tracking numbers, and much more.

The next time you find a pill and have no idea what it is, a quick scan with your smartphone's camera and you can potentially have access to all the information you need to identify it, including dosage, strength, and side effects.

Contact a Medical Professional in an Emergency

If you ever have any doubt about any of the medications you're supposed to take, please speak to your doctor, healthcare provider, or pharmacist. Without QR codes printed on all medications, it's a dangerous risk to guess.

Never take any medication you can't identify or have any doubts about. If you do experience adverse health effects after taking any medication, contact your primary care doctor or call 911.

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Laxxon Medical is dedicated to engineering patented 3D pharmaceutical solutions that optimize products and benefit patients. Our goal is to establish SPID®-Technology as a manufacturing process with the individual and the pharmaceutical partner in mind.

To keep up to date with SPID®-Technology and Laxxon Medical news and announcements, follow us on LinkedIn.


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