(RxWiki News) Medication errors at home have drastically increased over the years, according to a new study.
The authors of this new study assessed data from the National Poison Data System across the United States for 13 years. They looked at more than 67,000 exposures related to unintentional medication errors that resulted in serious medical issues.
Medication errors are a leading cause of injury and death in the US. In fact, 171 medication errors happen every hour, according to these researchers.
The research revealed that the number of medication error cases increased for all age groups except kids younger than 6. For children younger than 6, an increase in medication errors was followed by a decrease. This decrease is likely tied to the recommendations against the use of cough and cold preparations in this age group, these researchers noted.
Common types of medication errors were incorrect doses, taking or administering the wrong medication, and taking the medication twice by accident.
Types of medications that were most often tied to serious health issues were heart medications (20.6 percent); pain medications like opioids (12 percent); medications that affect hormones, such as insulin (11 percent); medications used to sleep and for psychosis (9.6 percent); and medications for depression (8.6 percent).
"When a child needs medication, one of the best things to do is keep a written log of the day and time each medication is given to ensure the child stays on schedule and does not get extra doses," said lead study author Dr. Nichole Hodges, of Nationwide Children's Hospital, in a press release.
Speak to your health care provider about ways to reduce the risk of medication errors at home. Always make sure you know exactly how to take your medication.
This study was published in the journal Clinical Toxicology.
The authors disclosed no outside funding sources or potential conflicts of interest.