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Woman's devastating illness draws attention to medication errors

Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription medication. That means that seven out of every 10 residents of Washington, D.C., likely rely on a pharmacy to make sure that their prescriptions are filled accurately, as medication errors can have devastating results. Take, for example, a case in another state, where an alleged pharmacy error resulted in a serious skin condition for one woman.

The woman has been diagnosed with a rare skin disorder known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This excruciatingly painful illness is typically caused by an adverse reaction to a medication or by incorrect medication dosage. In this case, it is believed the disorder was caused by an incorrect dose of lamotrigine.

When the woman began suffering from depression approximately three years ago, her doctor prescribed the lamotrigine, and she had the prescription filled at her local pharmacy. Here, her pending lawsuit complains, she received the wrong dosage of the medication, and the pharmacy failed to catch the error. Frighteningly, she is not alone; according to the Food and Drug Administration, medication errors have increased by nearly 463 percent in the last six years. Industry experts believe this is due, in part, to pharmacists being overstressed, attempting to fill too many prescriptions and not catching errors in time.

Regardless, the results of such medication errors are devastating; the plaintiff, for example, spent five weeks in a medically induced coma as her skin was peeling off, and there is no cure for the syndrome she contracted due to the alleged pharmacy error. While some states are hoping to limit the number of prescriptions a pharmacist can fill per hour to attempt to reduce error, residents of Washington, D.C., should be aware of the potential risk. Anyone who has suffered injury as a result of a medication error might benefit from exploring their legal options with an attorney who has experiencing in pharmaceutical litigation.

Source: USA Today, "Medication error: Woman's skin 'melts off'", Andy Pierrotti and Julie Wolfe, May 10, 2017

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