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Thousands of Patients Given Wrong Prescription of Medicine Due To Computer Glitch

May 13, 2016 06:49 AM EDT
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The Medicines and healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has launched an investigation after thousands of patients in England may have been given or denied a medicine that they do not or do need at all.

Because of some bug in the SystmOne clinical IT software, a number of patients were given inaccurate assessment of their risk of heart disease, prompting the GPs to prescribe them with cholesterol-lowering drugs called statin.

Around 2.5 million people take statins in the UK, the first country to make a statin available over the counter. According to Saga, the super drug work by blocking the action of a certain enzyme in the liver which makes 'bad' cholesterol (LDL) and slightly raises levels of 'good' cholesterol HDL.

The software, manufactured by IT company TPP, works by entering the patient's details/statistics in the computer. The software will then calculate whether at what percent they are at risk of suffering a heart attack. It was first introduced in 2009 is used by a third of GP surgeries in England.

In February, the FDA warned that statins can increase users' risk of Type 2 diabetes and memory loss, confusion and other cognition problems.

MHRA already asked the GPs to contact patients that might have been affected by the glitch at the same time emphasized that risk to patients is low and a limited number of patients are affected.

Spokesperson of The Royal College of GPs said those prescribed with statins will be closely monitored and will undertake regular medication reviews as any error in medication is serious.

They are also working closely with MHRA to gather more information about those affected and come up with solutions to decrease any risk.

As quoted by The Guardian, the representative said: "Our patients trust the information and advice we give them about their health, so it is essential that the tools we use to inform this is accurate."

"With statins being such a controversial treatment, among both doctors and patients, the seriousness of this error is particularly pronounced. The decision to prescribe statins to patients is never taken lightly, and those who are prescribed them will undertake regular medication reviews."

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