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
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.