Medication Confusion?

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Story Updated: Jul 5, 2012

Here's a scary statistic - According to a new study, half of all heart patients make serious medication errors when they go home from the hospital.Even when with help.

The research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, followed patients who'd had a heart attack or suffered heart failure and were recently released from care.

More than 800 people were included in the study.

Half were randomly assigned to a program where pharmacists worked to make sure their prescriptions were accurately dispensed and discussed medication use during treatment and at discharge. Pharmacists also called the patients after they went home.

The others were left to their own vigilance.

Half of the patients had a medication error during the first month after they were discharged from the hospital...regardless of whether they had pharmacist follow-up.

The most vulnerable patients were those with multiple medications, or those with low health literacy.

The researchers conclude that more work is needed to help prevent medication errors in cardiac patients.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news from today that can lead to health tomorrows.

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