Higher rate of ’near miss’ prescription errors in children

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Feb 02, 2011 in Wrongful Death

In a study reported this month in the Journal of Pain, researchers at a teaching hospital found that painkiller prescription errors were more common for pediatric patients. The researchers looked at 2,044 near-miss painkiller prescribing errors in an effort to learn more about the medication errors and the general characteristics of the medications that may contribute to those errors.

Among the types of errors examined were dose calculation mistakes and improper dose for type of administration (oral, intravenous, etc.); inappropriate use of dosage forms; insufficient knowledge of drug therapy; and failure to take patient-specific information into consideration in therapy decisions. The "near misses" were incidents detected, prevented and reported by pharmacists at the hospital.

Overall, there were 2.87 errors per 1,000 prescriptions. Of all errors, 0.63 per 1,000 were deemed potentially serious. For pediatric patients, 0.59 percent of the prescriptions contained one or more errors -- twice the rate for adults -- with 14 percent of those errors considered potentially serious.

The most errors occurred with commonly prescribed medications, but researchers found that less frequently prescribed drugs had higher error rates. Among the key factors contributing to errors were sound-alike drug names and painkillers used on an ongoing scheduled basis. Other key factors were modified dosage forms, atypical dosage courses of therapy and availability in dose forms for multiple administration routes.

The researchers believe their findings can help to shape patient and caregiver education as well as to augment patient safety strategies in hospitals and clinics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been working on medication error issues, including name confusion, since 1992.

Source: US News, "Look-and-Sound-Alike Names Account for Many Painkiller Prescription Errors," 02/blog/11

Back to Top

Where to find our office

Stewart Bell, PLLC

30 Capitol St
Charleston, WV 25301

Phone: 1 304-345-1700

Breaking News

New AHCA Guide Focuses on Social Media Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

Due to an increasing, newer form of elder abuse, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) has created a training kit to be…

Why Arbitration is Bad for Consumers

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that is not conducted in a courtroom. No judge presides, no jury weighs the issues…

Quick Connect