Health

Errors with prescription drugs: Your views

A collection of pills
Image caption The GMC found higher error rates for elderly people and children's prescriptions

The doctors' regulator is calling for more training for GPs, after a study found that errors in prescriptions are "common".

The review by the General Medical Council found mistakes in one in twenty prescriptions, although serious errors were rare.

BBC News website readers have been giving their own experiences of prescription errors.

Moira Ross, Stonehaven

Image copyright Other
Image caption "My mother was given Parkinson's disease pills instead of antibiotics"

My mother Margaret was 83 when she was given Parkinson's disease pills instead of antibiotics.

The label on the box was correct but the pills were wrong.

She took 12 in 36 hours and was eventually rushed to hospital after falling.

Unfortunately even in the hospital I was still giving her the "antibiotics". They were causing her to have hallucinations.

She said she was seeing rabbits, and mice running along the curtain rails.

The doctors couldn't get her to count back from 20, or name the current prime minister.

I went through so much turmoil for not reading the leaflet inside the box - if I had taken that leaflet out and read it when my mum started showing strange side effects, it could all have been so different.

But I really believed they were antibiotics.

Mum was never the same after that, sadly she died six months later.

I don't bear a big grudge now - my mum lived a long, happy life.

Lorraine, Brighton

I'm allergic to artificial colours. When I eat something that contains an artificial colour I get oedema (swelling) and urticari (which is like nettle rash) and my lips and throat often swell painfully.

My GP keeps prescribing medicines for me containing artificial colours, even though my allergy information is there in front of him, and I tell him verbally.

The problem is simple. GPs are never given all the ingredients in a drug - they are only given the active ingredients.

All the GPs I have spoken to have told me they rely on the pharmacist to sort out mistakes.

It's often only when I read the full ingredients list in the medication leaflet that I see that I cannot take the drugs.

David Worley, Nottingham

In April this year, I was due to have surgery at a Nottingham clinic to straighten my toe.

My GP prescribed me a drug called Heparin which I was meant to take at and after my surgery had taken place.

It was only after being prepared for theatre that the vials were found by the surgeon's team.

They told me that the doses given in the individual injections were wrong - they'd given me 10,000 units rather than 2,000.

Should I have taken the units given, then it would have been fatal.

The consultant said: "If you'd have taken one dose before coming here, you would have been hospitalised.

"If you'd have taken the others, you would have been dead by Friday."

We went back to the GP to ask about the error but were told the consultant was just being "over-dramatic".

Alan Forbes-Wake, Burley in Wharfedale

I have an 85-year-old father who was prescribed a diuretic to reduce the water in his body, to treat his ulcerated legs.

The district nurse went on to request a repeat prescription which was issued without any checks.

My father's memory and health dropped very quickly and he ended up in hospital as a result.

While there he was found to be very dehydrated and needed his body salts rebalancing.

Reading up on the tablets given, it clearly states that if the patient has or had any kidney problems, they should not be taken. My father had kidney failure 30 years ago, which is on his records.

One does have to question whether doctors are making the required checks when writing repeat prescriptions. It's putting patients at serious risk.

Dr John Charlton, Derby

I'm a GP and the work load is almost unmanageable.

I have just finished morning surgery and signed repeat scripts (not those in the surgery) for a total of 139 different items.

I'll have many more to do later in the day. Patients are clamouring for their scripts.

I simply cannot check each item on the computer against the diagnosis, frequency and so on.

I know most patients, but it is utterly impossible to check each item. Some patients are on 20 items.

We have a fairly robust system but nothing is perfect.

If we see patients on a 15 minute appointment, and see them for 15 minutes when they request repeats, we will have to stop doing something.

A huge raft of other claims on our time, such as GP commissioning, is overwhelming us.

Interviews by Matt Hewitt

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