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Study shows how pharmacists can help HIV patients

When Ohio hospital patients make the transition to outpatient facilities or home-based care, there is always a risk of medication errors. HIV patients are especially susceptible to this issue during transitional care. However, a study published in HIV Medicine shows evidence that pharmacists can play a critical role in reducing transition-of-care medication errors for HIV patients.

HIV patients are more vulnerable to being injured by medication errors because missed doses can result in viral resistance and failure of the treatment plan. Some of the most common medication errors involving HIV patients include dosing mistakes, dangerous drug interactions and ineffective antiretroviral regimens. The study found that the most common medication mistake with HIV patients is drug interactions. Researchers say that this may be more of a problem now because HIV patients are an aging population with numerous medication prescriptions.

The study was conducted at a medical center in Oklahoma. Researchers observed HIV patients while they received the typical standard of care and while they had pharmacists monitoring them during their hospitalizations. When pharmacists monitored HIV patients daily, the patients experienced nearly 75 percent fewer medication errors. Dosing errors went down by 90 percent and incorrect frequency errors were completely eliminated when HIV patients had pharmacists monitoring their care.

People can be severely harmed by a medication error even with more benign conditions. The wrong dosage or the wrong prescription could result in a worsened medical condition requiring expensive additional care and treatment. An attorney can review the patient's medical history and, after obtaining the opinions of medical experts, make a determination as to whether such error constituted actionable medical malpractice.

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