New Strategies to Reduce Medication Errors in Children

First Posted: Jul 15, 2014 11:40 AM EDT

Doctors say giving a wrong dosage of medicine to children can cause medical emergency.

A study in Pediatrics journal reveals that between 5 and 27 percent of pediatric medications are prescribed or taken in the wrong dosage. This error leads to 7000 deaths approximately per year, reports Reuters.

"There are ways to fix the problem, but they will require cooperation between doctors, pharmacists and families. There are lots of different ways to do it, lots of different targets", said lead author Dr. Michael L. Rinke, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, New York,  to Reuters Health.

The researchers reviewed 63 studies done on dosage problems. The researcher found that doctors who used pre-printed prescription order sheets, which can be paper or electronic, were more legible, clear and standardized .This helped reduce the error by 27 to 82 percent.

Doctors who enter prescription order into computers, which include software for clinical guidelines, diagnostic criteria and computerized reminders make fewer errors , say the researchers.

A recent study says that using teaspoons to measure out medicines for children is also wrong instead milliliter scales should be used.

The study says that parents using  spoon measurements "were 2.3 times more likely to pour the wrong dose and 1.9 times more likely to not accurately follow the prescription.".

The recent study shows "that many parents are able to understand how to dose using milliliters, and that parents who think of their child's dose in teaspoons or tablespoons are actually much more likely to make dosing errors," said lead author Dr. H. Shonna Yin, from New York University School of Medicine.

Correct measurement of pediatric medicines is very essential as children are very susceptible to medicines and wrong dosages can sometimes lead to strong reactions.

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