FDA-Errors in Pets’ Medications

Dog Pill

The CVM section (Center for Veterinary Medicine) of the FDA cites several reasons why there could be errors in pets’ medications, illegible handwriting, abbreviations, package look-alikes among them.

Linda Kim-Jung, safety reviewer in the Division of Veterinary Product Safety Division of the FDA offer some suggestions about preventing medical errors.

Questions to ask before leaving the veterinarian’s office:

  • What is the name of the medication and what should it do?
  • How much of the medication should be given to the pet each time?
  • How many times a day should the pet receive the medication?
  • Should the medication be given before, during or after meals?
  • How should the medication be stored?
  • What should I do if I miss giving a dose?
  • Should I finish all the medication even if my pet is better?
  • What are the possible side effects of the medication and should I call you immediately?
  • In addition, Kim-Jung suggests you do the following:
  • Keep a list of all drugs your animal is taking including over-the-counter products, supplements and prescription drugs and carry it with you to the vet’s office.
  • Tell your vet of any allergies or sensitivities your pet has and advise of any reactions experienced with any product in the past.
  • Ask your vet to explain any serious or chronic health conditions your pet may have and discuss treatments.

To avoid medical errors at home, do the following:

  • Keep pet drugs, supplements, etc. stored away from human products to prevent mix-ups.
  • Keep your pets medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Do not give any medications to another pet other than the one it is prescribed for unless directed by the veterinarian.
  • Do not give human medications to an animal unless directed by the veterinarian.

If you have any problems with medications such as adverse reactions, mis-labeling and so on, after contacting your vet, report the issues to the FDA. Their site, at fda.gov, has a ready form to fill out and information on how to report problems.

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