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Medication safety was the focus of the campaign from October 2014–March 2015. While most medicines have a large margin of safety, a small number can potentially cause significant harm even when used as intended. The medicines most frequently involved in serious adverse drug events are called high-risk medicines. Special attention is needed when they are prescribed, dispensed, supplied, stored, administered or taken.

High-risk medicines include:

  • Anticoagulants – for example warfarin and heparin
  • Opioids – for example morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl and methadone
  • Insulin
  • Concentrated potassium injections
  • Oral methotrexate.

The campaign raiseed awareness of high-risk medicines and promoted ways to reduce harm from these medicines. Each month had a theme with related activities including a webinar, patient stories and relevant fact sheets.

A suite of online ‘one step’ activities on opioids, anticoagulants, insulin, oral methotrexate and concentrated potassium injections gave clinicians an opportunity to identify improvements for patient safety.

During this period we promoted what happens in the sector and encouraged organisations to showcase their medication safety work including reducing harm from high-risk medicines. 


Month Focus
October Case for change
November Identifying and mitigating error and harm
December & January Partnering with patients and their whanau
February Preventing error and harm
March Safe use of opioids

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