Preventing Drug Errors with Epocrates
According to a recent survey, more than 50 percent of physicians report that Epocrates helps them avoid one or more adverse drug events (ADE) per week. A projected 16 million-plus ADEs were avoided or identified with Epocrates in the last year. Below is an example of how Epocrates helped avoid an ADE: Dr. Jeffrey M. Kagan of Newington, CT recently saw a long-time patient taking carbamazepine, an epilepsy medication. The patient was barely able to walk, weak and dizzy, and said he "felt like he was falling." Dr. Kagan discovered another physician had treated the patient with clarithromycin for an infection 10 days earlier. A quick query of Epocrates' drug interaction checker revealed that the combination of the two medications produced a higher risk of toxicity, which would cause the instability. A blood test confirmed that the patient's carbamazepine level was toxic and Dr. Kagan instructed him to hold off taking carbamazepine for a few days. The patient soon returned to normal.