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Medication errors with HIV antiretrovirals

People in New Mexico who are living with HIV may have to take a lot of medication to keep the virus at bay. Because of some prescribers' unfamiliarity with antiretrovirals, substantially large numbers of medication errors are made with these medications.

An estimated 1 million people over age 13 are currently living with HIV in the U.S. The antiretroviral medication regimens used to treat these people involves complex dosing schedules and a number of different medications. Some of the medications have potential interactions with other medications, leading to one potential for error.

A study conducted at Rutgers University Hospital over a three-year period, found that the rate of medication errors for patients admitted during the first year was 45 percent. By the end of the study, the rate had dropped to 37 percent. Around 50 percent of the medication errors happened within the first 24 hours after a person was admitted, with many more occurring at nights and on weekends when consultations were not available. The most common error was prescribing the wrong dose, followed by prescribing proton pump inhibitor medications along with antiretrovirals (which have drug interactions).

Drug prescription errors can cause serious injuries to patients. Medication errors are a widespread type of medical malpractice. Doctors are supposed to provide care to their patients in a reasonable and diligent manner while meeting the standards of care expected of them by the medical profession. When they fail in this duty and cause injury as a result, the patient may be able to file a medical malpractice civil lawsuit against the negligent doctor. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to provide advice regarding whether it appears a person has a valid claim.

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