Health Risks Associated with Incorrect Dosing of Common MedicationJuly 19, 2018
Physicians must consider a wide range of information when prescribing medication. They must weigh the benefits of the drug with the potential side effects, as well as any risk factors that the patient might have. The physician must then determine the exact dosage amount that will be both effective and safe. Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine studied the reliability of pooled cohort equations (PCEs), and whether they are effective at determining the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
According to the study, over 11 million patients in the United States may have been incorrectly prescribed certain medications, including aspirin, statins, and blood pressure medications. While PCE’s are the foundation for cardiovascular disease prevention in the United States, researchers suggest that the equations can be improved to use data that is more current. When PCEs are based on outdated data, it puts patients at risk for being over or under-medicated.
PCEs use a set of calculations to determine a patient’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. This valuable tool helps physicians decide whether to prescribe aspirin, a statin, or a blood pressure medication, or a combination of the three. Physicians calculate a patient’s risk of a heart attack by using a PCE web calculator or smartphone application. In some cases, the calculation is built in to the electronic health record (ECH), in which case, the patient’s risk is calculated during the office visit.
How to Improve PCEs
However, according to Dr. Sanjay Basu, Ph.D and assistant professor of primary care outcomes research at Stanford, there are at least two ways that the equations from 2013 can be improved. First, the data used to develop equations must be updated. For example, data used to develop the original equations used patient information from 1948. Diet, lifestyle, and medical treatments available are much different now than they were in the 1940s. As a result, the equations came up with a risk that was too high, and patients were being prescribed treatments that were more aggressive than they needed.
Basu also recommended that the statistical methods used to develop equations be updated. By revising the PCEs and incorporating updated data and statistical methods, the risk estimates of cardiovascular disease can be significantly improved. For example, the data needs to reflect the fact that African-Americans are now known to have a significantly higher cardiovascular risk than other patients. As a result, with the outdated information, these patients may have been prescribed medication that was ineffective.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Patients Who Have Been Wrongly Prescribed Medications
If the health care provider responsible for your care prescribed an incorrect medication that affected your health, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our experienced team will investigate the details of your case and determine whether your health care provider was negligent in any way. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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