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Keywords:

  • medication errors;
  • problems;
  • recommendations

Here we discuss 15 recommendations for reducing the risks of medication errors:

 1. Provision of sufficient undergraduate learning opportunities to make medical students safe prescribers.

 2. Provision of opportunities for students to practise skills that help to reduce errors.

 3. Education of students about common types of medication errors and how to avoid them.

 4. Education of prescribers in taking accurate drug histories.

 5. Assessment in medical schools of prescribing knowledge and skills and demonstration that newly qualified doctors are safe prescribers.

 6. European harmonization of prescribing and safety recommendations and regulatory measures, with regular feedback about rational drug use.

 7. Comprehensive assessment of elderly patients for declining function.

 8. Exploration of low-dose regimens for elderly patients and preparation of special formulations as required.

 9. Training for all health-care professionals in drug use, adverse effects, and medication errors in elderly people.

10. More involvement of pharmacists in clinical practice.

11. Introduction of integrated prescription forms and national implementation in individual countries.

12. Development of better monitoring systems for detecting medication errors, based on classification and analysis of spontaneous reports of previous reactions, and for investigating the possible role of medication errors when patients die.

13. Use of IT systems, when available, to provide methods of avoiding medication errors; standardization, proper evaluation, and certification of clinical information systems.

14. Nonjudgmental communication with patients about their concerns and elicitation of symptoms that they perceive to be adverse drug reactions.

15. Avoidance of defensive reactions if patients mention symptoms resulting from medication errors.