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Medication error, is a type of medical error where a the wrong drug is administered or other confusion (wrong patient, wrong dose, wrong time, wrong route) means that the correct drug was administered incorrectly.


Causes include:

  • Similar drug names being confused
  • Error caused by confusion in respect to two different preparations of the same drug
  • Failure to document in a timely manner leading to medication being given twice to the same patient
  • Medication inadvertently being given by the wrong route
  • Confusion being caused by two patients of a similar name
  • Prescriptions being misread due to poor handwriting
  • Inappropriate storage/stockpiling of out of date medications


A number of steps can be taken to reduce these errors these include

  • Reduce distractions at times when medication is being given.
  • Check patient identification information thoroughly.
  • Ensure that all medication charts are written clearly in accordance with explicit policy and Professional guidance.
  • Ensure that drug storage areas are kept clean, neat and tidy.
  • Ensure that unwanted or unnecessary medications are returned to pharmacy for destruction.
  • Ensure that all patients receive appropriate advice and information about the medications that they take on a regular basis, and that such discussions are fully documented.
  • Report all future drug errors, including near-miss events, to ensure on-going learning within the organisation.

See alsoEdit

Psychologist prescribing Risk management

External linksEdit

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