Nearly a third of patients with diabetes experience a medication error in hospital, analysis finds

A quarter of people with diabetes have problems accessing medication and a third will experience a medication error during a hospital stay, Diabetes UK has said.

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Almost one in three people with diabetes will experience a medication error during their hospital stay, an analysis by charity Diabetes UK has revealed.

The charity has also said that 25% of people have problems getting the medication or equipment they need to manage their diabetes and 25% are not prescribed the amount of test strips they need.

The analysis found that 53.4 million items were prescribed for people with diabetes in 2017/2018, compared with 30.8 million prescription items ten years earlier.

However, fewer than 20% of people with type 1 diabetes mellitus and 40% with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are meeting the recommended treatment targets that will reduce their risk of complications. The data also show that more than 66% of people do not fully understand their diabetes.

“Millions of [T2DM] cases could be prevented if we help people understand their risk and how to reduce it,” said Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

“Even though the older people get the more likely they are to have [T2DM], it is never too early to know your risk so that you can make changes to prevent or delay it.”

He explained that the signs of T2DM are often not obvious, so spotting them early is crucial.

“Early diagnosis means that fewer people will experience diabetes-related complications such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease, because they could seek support to manage their condition effectively as soon as possible.”

Overall, 4.7 million people in the UK have diabetes and the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in 20 years.

By 2025, Diabetes UK predicts that more than 5 million people in the UK will have diabetes.

Askew urged those over the age of 40 years to get an NHS Health Check find out their risk of developing T2DM with the ‘Know your Risk’ tool.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Nearly a third of patients with diabetes experience a medication error in hospital, analysis finds;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206225

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