Purpose of review: Maintaining patient safety is a necessary step to improve healthcare delivery. Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have an increased frequency of adverse safety events largely because of medication errors.
Recent findings: CKD and ESRD have several features which threaten patient safety. Reduced glomerular filtration rate affects the clearance of many medications and is also associated with several comorbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic bone disease, and anemia. These comorbidities of CKD often increase the complexity of treatment regimens. Patients with ESRD, requiring dialysis or transplantation, have an even greater potential for adverse safety events because of the reliance on renal replacement modalities and the frequent requirements of polypharmacy and potential drug-drug interactions.
Summary: There is an important need to develop strategies to provide inpatient and outpatient management plans to limit the risk of adverse medication errors across a wide range of educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, and a critical need to develop a uniform set of standards for evaluating patient safety in CKD and ESRD as well as appropriate descriptions of the prototypical safety profiles of patients who have CKD, a kidney transplant, or who are on dialysis.