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Teenager Hospitalized After Local Pharmacy Accidentally Gives Her Blood Pressure Medication Instead of Asthma Pills

Newsweek logo Newsweek 10/8/2019 Khaleda Rahman

a sign in front of a building: Stock photo: A CVS Pharmacy drug store is seen in Washington, DC. A teenage girl was hospitalized after a CVS Pharmacy accidentally gave her blood pressure medication instead of her asthma pills. © Getty Stock photo: A CVS Pharmacy drug store is seen in Washington, DC. A teenage girl was hospitalized after a CVS Pharmacy accidentally gave her blood pressure medication instead of her asthma pills. A teenage girl was hospitalized after her local pharmacy accidentally gave her blood pressure medication instead of her asthma pills.

Alyssa Watrous picked up her prescription for her medication at a CVS Pharmacy in Southington, Connecticut, WFSB reported.

She soon started feeling unwell and started experiencing side effects including nausea, weakness, dizziness and a pounding headache, her mom Jill Watrous said.

It was only after she had been taking the pills for two days that Alyssa realized there had been a mix-up with the medication.

"She called me, 'mom, mom, there's somebody else's name on my medicine," Jill Watrous told WFSB.

Not only had Alyssa Watrous been taking the wrong medication, she had been taking a lot more of it than is usually prescribed. Only one pill a day is commonly advised for adults taking the blood pressure medication she had, but she had been taking three at a time because she was following the directions for her asthma medication.

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Jill Watrous called CVS and Poison Control and was advised to go to the emergency room as Alyssa Watrous had technically overdosed on the blood pressure pills. Doctors told Alyssa Watrous she had arrived just in time to avoid serious issues, WFSB reported.

"They said thank goodness, there wouldn't be any long-term effects, that it's something that will leave your system," Alyssa Watrous told WFSB.

In a statement, CVS apologised for the mistake and said they will "do everything we can do to learn from it."

"We sincerely apologise to Ms Watrous and her family. Prescription errors are a very rare occurrence, but if one does happen, we do everything we can to learn from it in order to continuously improve quality and patient safety," a CVS spokesman said.

Newsweek has contacted CVS for further comment.

Jill Watrous told WFSB that she appreciated the apology, but the error has taught the family to be even more diligent when it comes to medication.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality urges consumers that when they pick up medicine from the pharmacy, they should always check that it is the medicine their doctor prescribed. And if they have any questions about the directions on their medicine labels, they should always ask.

The National Capital Poison Center advises people that many medication errors can be prevented by reading the label carefully and following the directions.

To avoid taking the wrong medication by accident, they suggest that each person's medicines are stored in a different cabinet, medicine bottles are colour-coded and to keep medicines in their bottles or pill sorters.

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