Drug Mistakes and Kidney Dialysis Patients

A new study has shown that up to 20% of kidney dialysis patients who undergo procedures to open a clogged artery are given the wrong drugs, significantly increasing the chances of increased bleeding. The study notes that many doctors disregard or ignore drug warning labels which puts the patient at significant risk for injury.
“The results of this study illustrate the problem of medication errors in the United States, as well as the need to make patient safety a priority on the health care agenda,” Dr. Thomas Tsai of the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center and colleagues wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Errors such as these cause more than 100,000 preventable deaths each year as well as medical malpractice lawsuits.
Certain blood thinners are not recommended for kidney dialysis patients. Drugs such as Lovenox, also known as enoxaparin, made by Sanofi-Aventis SA’s and Merck Schering-Plough’s Integrilin, also known as eptifibatide, are not recommended for kidney patients because they are cleared through the kidneys. In spite of this, more than 20% of dialysis patients received one or the other blood thinner in the recently published study.
“This study therefore demonstrates that these medications are used in clinical practice despite (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) FDA-directed labeling, and their use is associated with adverse patient outcomes,” the team wrote.