Study shows pharmacies' software systems miss potentially dangerous interactions

A study conducted at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy found that only 28 percent of pharmacies' clinical decision support software systems – the computer programs that are in place to alert pharmacists to possible medication problems – correctly identified potentially dangerous drug-drug interactions.

The study was conducted at 64 pharmacies across Arizona. Members of the research team tested the pharmacy using a set of prescription orders for a standardized fictitious patient. The prescriptions consisted of 18 different medications that posed 13 clinically significant drug-drug . Of the 64 pharmacies, only 18 correctly identified all of the eligible drug-drug interactions and non-interactions.

"These findings suggest that we have a fundamental problem with the way interactions are evaluated by drug knowledge databases," says Daniel Malone, PhD, UA professor of and lead investigator on the study. "The weakness of these systems could lead to medication errors that might harm patients. Pharmacists should become familiar with how their computer system identifies drug interactions. Consumers should always inform their doctor and pharmacist about all medications and other therapies they are using. The risk of harm from dangerous combinations can be reduced when patients create and maintain a medication list."

Related Stories

Clinical pharmacists can reduce drug costs

Dec 23, 2008

Clinical pharmacy services can significantly reduce the cost of prescription drugs and save money elsewhere in the health care system, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Prescription labels geared toward pharmacies, not patients

Sep 11, 2007

The labels on most prescription drug containers highlight the pharmacy’s name or logo rather than instructions on how to take the medication, reports a new study in the September 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Me ...

Tech-check-tech

Jan 04, 2007

Regulation set to take effect tomorrow, Jan. 5, 2007, is designed to reduce medication errors in California hospitals and free pharmacists for greater involvement in direct patient care rather than in non-discretionary (clerical) ...

Older adults at high risk for drug interactions

Dec 23, 2008

At least one in 25 older adults, about 2.2 million people in the United States, take multiple drugs in combinations that can produce a harmful drug-drug interaction, and half of these interactions involve a non-prescription ...

Recommended for you

Boxed warnings are common in novel therapeutics

Aug 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Boxed warnings are common on recent drug approvals, and many occur years after approval, according to a research letter published online Aug. 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

AstraZeneca says DOJ closes probe into drug trial

Aug 19, 2014

British drugmaker AstraZeneca says the U.S. Department of Justice has closed its investigation into a clinical trial of the company's blood thinner Brilinta, and plans no further action.

User comments