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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989


MIRA, José Joaquín; NAVARRO, Isabel Maria; GUILABERT, Mercedes  and  ARANAZ, Jesús. Frequency of medication errors by patients. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.31, n.2, pp.95-101. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: Analyze the frequency of medication errors committed and reported by patients. METHODS: Descriptive study based on a telephone survey of a random sample of adult patients from the primary care level of the Spanish public health care system. A total of 1 247 patients responded (75% response rate); 63% were women and 29% were older than 70 years. RESULTS: While 37 patients (3%, 95% CI: 2-4) experienced complications associated with medication in the course of treatment, 241 (19.4%, 95% CI: 17-21) reported having made some mistake with their medication. A shorter consultation time (P < 0.01) and a worse assessment of the information provided by the physician (P < 0.01) were associated with the fact that during pharmacy dispensing the patient was told that the prescribed treatment was not appropriate. CONCLUSIONS: In addition to the known risks of an adverse event due to a health intervention resulting from a system or practitioner error, there are risks associated with patient errors in the self-administration of medication. Patients who were unsatisfied with the information provided by the physician reported a greater number of errors.

Keywords : Medication errors; medication adherence; patient participation; physician-patient relations; primary health care; Spain.

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