Woman accidentally prescribed erectile dysfunction cream for eye condition

When looking for treatment for her eye condition, a woman was incorrectly given an erectile dysfunction crea...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 3:03 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 3:03 PM

When looking for treatment for her eye condition, a woman was incorrectly given an erectile dysfunction cream to be used on her eyes, resulting in chemical injury.

The woman was prescribed and dispensed the erectile dysfunction cream, Vitaros, instead of the eye ointment, VitA-POS, according to an article in the journal BMJ Case Reports. The event was reported in by Dr. Magdalena Edington and colleagues from the Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology in Glasgow, UK.

Beauty and personal care

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Consumer products

Cosmetics and toiletries

Diseases and disorders

Eye disorders and injuries

Health and medical

Sexual and reproductive health

Sexual dysfunction

Skin care products

Urogenital disorders and injuries

Wounds and injuries

Pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs

Pharmacies and pharmacists

Medical fields and specialties

Ophthalmology

She immediately experienced discomfort and blurred vision, as well as redness and lid swelling on using the cream.

Prescribing errors are common, the authors write, and affect one in 20 prescriptions in England, a 2012 study said.

Medications with similar names or packaging increase this risk. The packaging of the Vitaros and VitA-POS creams vary, but their similar names make differentiating them difficult for first-time users, the authors write.

They add that it was unusual for no one, between the pharmacists, GP and patient, to question the prescription of an erectile dysfunction cream for a female patient, particularly one instructed to use it on her eyes.

The authors "believe this to be an important issue to report to enhance awareness and promote safe prescribing skills."

The female patient visited a hospital for treatment of her severe dry eyes and recurrent corneal erosions -- a common condition caused by a scratch on the cornea that does not fully heal, leading to a blister. The blister can stick to the eyelid, during sleep for example, and once the eye is opened it may tear or pop, causing pain, blurry vision or sensitivity to light.

There are a number of treatment options for this infection, such as lubricant ointment combined with artificial tears, antibiotics, pain relievers or bandage soft contact lenses -- lenses designed to protect the cornea-- as well as the lubricant she was meant to be prescribed.

After the discomfort, blurred vision, redness and lid swelling, the woman then had conjunctival injection -- enlarged blood vessels -- as well as mild anterior chamber activity, which is an inflammation in the eye, and small epithelial defect, an erosion of the eye ball surface, report the authors.

Vitaros promotes blood flow to other areas of the body, explained Colin Vize, an ophthalmologist and chairman of the quality and safety group of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, who was not involved in the report. "If you apply the same agent to the area around the eye, a similar action will take place," he said. This causes blood vessels to become larger, which lead to the conjunctival injection in this case, Vize added.

The report states she was treated with steroids, antibiotic eye drops and lubricants for a mild chemical injury on her eyes. The chemical injury healed within a few days, but the woman has continued to suffer from recurrent corneal erosions, for which she has received follow up treatments.

The mild chemical injury caused by the cream would be similar to injuries reported from e-cigarette fluid, nail glue and olbas oil, a decongestant, in the eye, the authors said.

The authors "would like to raise awareness that medications with similar spellings exist." They also want to encourage handwritten prescriptions "are printed in block capital letters (including the hyphen with VitA-POS) to avoid similar scenarios in the future."

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK explained that "while every effort is taken to minimise the risk of making errors, both GPs and pharmacists are human, and medication mistakes can and occasionally do happen."

Strokes-Lampard, who was not involved in the report, said in an email to CNN that her organization can not comment on this individual case. "It must be recognised that medication errors that cause harm are relatively rare. It is also increasingly rare for a GP to issue a handwritten prescription nowadays - precisely because the margins for human error are so much higher," she added.

Digital systems with online prompts are commonly used, she said.

"These systems have substantially reduced the likelihood of prescribing errors -- but it is still important to maintain open and rapid channels of communication between GPs and pharmacists, so that if there are any queries regarding a patient's medication they can be answered."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21315

Reported Deaths: 890
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7168539
Ramsey243797
Stearns195012
Nobles14692
Anoka121056
Dakota110235
Olmsted56210
Washington52729
Kandiyohi4681
Rice3862
Clay37324
Scott3582
Wright2531
Sherburne2142
Todd2040
Mower1891
Carver1742
Benton1672
Steele1410
Martin1255
Blue Earth1151
St. Louis11113
Freeborn930
Pine850
Winona7815
Carlton730
Nicollet695
Cottonwood640
Otter Tail600
Polk592
Watonwan560
Crow Wing561
Goodhue552
Itasca537
Chisago481
Dodge440
Chippewa420
Meeker420
Le Sueur411
Jackson390
Morrison380
Becker370
Murray350
Lyon340
Douglas290
Isanti280
McLeod270
Waseca250
Unassigned229
Rock210
Mille Lacs171
Fillmore171
Swift160
Wabasha160
Brown122
Beltrami120
Faribault120
Sibley120
Wilkin113
Cass112
Kanabec111
Norman110
Pipestone100
Marshall90
Pennington90
Pope80
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Koochiching60
Yellow Medicine60
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Lincoln50
Clearwater30
Big Stone30
Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Redwood30
Grant20
Houston20
Roseau10
Hubbard10
Lake10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17533

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3774108
Woodbury262424
Black Hawk168239
Linn93575
Marshall87011
Dallas85714
Johnson6027
Muscatine54539
Wapello5144
Crawford4862
Tama39423
Scott3379
Louisa3347
Dubuque32316
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2430
Pottawattamie2126
Sioux2070
Washington1808
Wright1220
Allamakee1184
Plymouth1160
Warren1110
Story951
Poweshiek888
Mahaska856
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Des Moines551
Boone550
Cedar461
Guthrie433
Taylor390
Benton371
Jones360
Clarke350
Iowa330
Monroe334
Osceola320
Buchanan320
Shelby310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Hamilton260
Fayette260
Monona240
Madison241
Winneshiek230
Lee220
Cerro Gordo221
Davis200
Grundy190
Lyon190
Harrison190
Jefferson180
Floyd181
Mills160
Cherokee160
Butler150
Delaware150
Keokuk140
Greene130
Sac130
Hardin130
Humboldt130
Ida130
Howard120
Jackson120
Appanoose123
Hancock120
Audubon111
Cass110
Van Buren100
Clay100
Page100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Dickinson90
Franklin80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Emmet70
Union70
Kossuth70
Unassigned60
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Pocahontas40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
Rochester
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Mason City
Few Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 65°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Storms a brewin'
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Weather 5/25

Image

Honoring Veterans During a Pandemic

Image

Loud Mouth Brass Band spreads cheer to residents in Slattery Park

Image

Finding the silver lining during the pandemic

Image

Will Memorial Day cause a coronavirus spike?

Image

Can you catch Covid-19 from mosquitos?

Image

125 Live Restaurant partnership

Image

Taps in City Park

Image

100 Most traveled days in MN have begun

Image

Parade in the park

Community Events