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How can you avoid medication misadventure?

Partners | Newsroom

An estimated 250,000 patients are admitted to hospital in Australia each year because of medication related problems including adverse reactions, allergies, medication errors and non-compliance.*

Medication misadventure is far more common than you think and can often be avoided with the right knowledge of the medicines prescribed to patients.

University of Tasmania lecturer and accredited pharmacist Lucy Muir Wilson is among the staff who will be teaching the new fast-track Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours program available to study at the Cradle Coast campus next year.

She said when it came to safely taking medications simple strategies could be used by patients and carers to reduce the risk of medication misadventure.

“Unfortunately it is quite common that people do not understand what has been prescribed for them and why,” she said.

Pharmacist Lucy Muir Wilson
Lucy Muir Wilson

“This leads to patients taking less ownership of their medications which can be quite dangerous, as they are far less likely to identify if there is a problem with their medication.

Many patients don’t identify their medications by the name of their active ingredient, but by their brand name, which can increase the chance of medication errors such as duplication of a medication which may have been dispensed as two different brands.

Mrs Muir Wilson said medication safety was a big issue and one seen in emergency departments daily as people confused as to what they have taken and as a result then taking too many, or not enough of their prescribed medicines.

"Medication misadventure continues to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Australia, despite it being a health priority area,” she said.

The University is hosting a Medication Safety Seminar on the Cradle Coast on Thursday, November 24, to help people learn more about safely taking medications as prescribed, how to safely store medications, what to do in the event of an adverse reaction and what to do with leftover medication if a medicine is ceased.

The free Medication Safety Seminar will also be offered online for those unable to attend the Burnie campus for the event.

Go to at Eventbrite to register for the in-person event. Or to attend online register at to have the details emailed to you.

* Lim, R., Ellett, L.M.K., Semple, S. et al. The Extent of Medication-Related Hospital Admissions in Australia: A Review from 1988 to 2021. Drug Saf 45, 249–257 (2022).