Study finds “millions” may have wrong heart medicine

A new study finds millions may have the wrong heart medication. What's a patient to do?

A recent publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine unearths a disturbing truth: millions of Americans may have been prescribed the wrong heart medication. Researchers with the study reviewed the use of pooled cohort equations (PCEs). These PCEs are the equations doctors use to determine a patient's risk for heart attack or stroke and estimate the right dose of medications to manage this risk. Medications like aspirin, statins and blood pressure medications.

What did researchers find and what does it mean for patients?

Scientists with Stanford University School of Medicine in California conducted the study. The researchers analyzed data from patients that had suffered from heart attacks and strokes. They found the equations used to determine proper medication amounts were off for approximately 11.8 million patients in the United States.

The group uncovered two problems that resulted in inaccuracy with these equations. First, scientists originally determined PCEs in 1948. Many things, including lifestyle and diet, have changed in the last seventy years. The researchers also found the calculations did not properly represent the African-American population. Recent findings indicate this segment of the population is at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. As such, current medication calculations may have resulted in inaccurate dosage.

Ultimately, researchers with the study call for a new dataset to better ensure patients receive the correct dosage of necessary medications. The study also notes that those who currently take these medications may benefit from a visit to discuss and reevaluate treatment plans.

Does a patient have remedies if injured by a pharmaceutical error?

Can a patient injured by a physician's prescription of the wrong medication hold that medical professional legally accountable for their wrongdoing? In short, the answer is yes. Prescription error can serve as the basis of a medical malpractice suit.

In order to build a successful suit, patients must establish the physician or other responsible medical professional was negligent in his or her prescription efforts. This often requires the use of medical expert testimony to explain that the physician's actions fell below the accepted standard of care a reasonable physician would use in a similar situation and that this error led to the patient's injury.

Patients injured by a medical professional's negligent prescription error may be able to hold the doctor accountable through a medical malpractice suit. An attorney experienced in pharmacy malpractice can advocate for your interests and better ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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