Home drug errors rise.
A shift in the number of medications being taken outside of the hospital has correlated with a sharp increase in the number of fatal medication errors in the home, researchers reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Sociologists at the University of California, San Diego, found a 3,196% increase in fatal domestic medication errors involving alcohol and/or street drugs, and a 564% increase in domestic medication fatalities not involving alcohol and/or street drugs. The study examined nearly 50 million U.S. death certificates from 1983 to 2004, and focused on the 200,000 deaths involving medication errors. "The decades-long shift in the location of medication consumption from clinical to domestic settings is linked to a dramatic increase in fatal medication errors," the authors said. They noted that it may be possible to reduce fatal medication errors by focusing education efforts on domestic settings in addition to clinical settings.