An observational study of intravenous medication errors in the United Kingdom and Germany

Department of Practice and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK.
International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy (Impact Factor: 1.27). 07/2003; 25(3):104-11. DOI: 10.1023/A:1024009000113
Source: PubMed


To investigate the incidence and the severity of intravenous (i.v.) drug preparation and administration errors in two countries and three pharmacy services.
A disguised observational method was used to record details of the preparation and administration of prescribed i.v. drugs on two wards in each of three teaching hospitals: one with a traditional British ward pharmacy service (TBP) and two hospitals in Germany, one with a traditional ward stock supply (TGP) and one with a satellite pharmacy service (GSP) with unit dose system. Main outcome measures: Errors in i.v. drug preparation and administration and their potential significance.
The number of observed preparations/administrations were: TBP 77/63, TGP 126/109 and GSP 134/106. The preparation error rates were: TBP 22% (95% confidence interval: 13-31%), TGP 23% (16-30%) and GSP 31% (23-39%). The administration error rates were TBP 27% (16-38%), TGP 49% (39-58%) and GSP 22% (14-30%). The percentage of administration errors on the wards with TGP was statistically significantly higher than in the other two services. Common errors at the study sites with TBP and GSP were omissions. Wrong rate of administration occurred most frequently on the wards with TGP. The majority of errors were likely to be of 'moderate' to 'severe' outcome. Careful drug chart reading could possibly reduce omission errors on the wards with TBP. A change of the German nursing law ('Krankenpflegegesetz') to legally entitle nurses to administer i.v. drugs could probably result in better training, national guidelines and standards.
This study found a high rate of i.v. medication errors of moderate to severe significance. Changes in practice should be considered to make i.v. therapy safer for patients.

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    • "Whereas among the DRPs in our study majority seen were incompatibilities (40.9%, n = 45), followed by complications developed (12.7%, n = 14) after IV administrations, errors in the rate of administration were accounted for 12 patients (10.9%) and errors in the dilution accounted for nine patients (8%). In contrast, another study revealed that wrong rate of administration was the most frequent error, followed by omissions and wrong dose.[20] "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Infusion therapy through intravenous (IV) access is a therapeutic option used in the treatment of many hospitalized patients. IV therapy is complex, potentially dangerous and error prone. The objectives were to ascertain the drug-related problems (DRPs) involved in IV medication administration and further to develop strategies to reduce and prevent the occurrence of DRPs during IV administration. Materials and Methods: A prospective observational study was carried out for a period of 4 months. Patients receiving more than two medications through IV route were included and studied. Results: Of 110 patients, 76 (69.09%) were male and the rest were female. Nearly, half of the patients (46.3%, n = 51) were reported with DRPs. Of the 80 DRPs (72.72%) documented, 61 problems (55.4%) were seen in patients given IV medications through peripheral line. Among the DRPs majority seen were incompatibilities (40.9%, n = 45), followed by complications developed (12.7%, n = 14), errors in rate of administration (10.9%), and dilution errors (8%). To study the association of DRPs among gender, statistical analysis was performed and significant association was seen between DRPs and gender (P = 0.03). Conclusion: Among the reported DRPs, simultaneous IV administration of two incompatible drugs was the main predicament faced.
    03/2014; 5(2):49-53. DOI:10.4103/0976-0105.134984
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    • "Another study found that the medication administration error rate for intravenous medication is significantly higher than other types of medication, the researchers observing the preparation error rate as 26 % and the administration error rate as 34 % [68]. Our findings therefore are also consistent with the previous studies’ results highlighting that intravenous MEs occur more frequently than preparation errors [68]. In addition, Armitage and Knapman found that the frequency of administration errors ranges from 2.4 % to 47.5 %, depending on the drug distribution system in place [69]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Medication errors are a significant global concern and can cause serious medical consequences for patients. Little is known about medication errors in Middle Eastern countries. The objectives of this systematic review were to review studies of the incidence and types of medication errors in Middle Eastern countries and to identify the main contributory factors involved. Methods A systematic review of the literature related to medication errors in Middle Eastern countries was conducted in October 2011 using the following databases: Embase, Medline, Pubmed, the British Nursing Index and the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature. The search strategy included all ages and languages. Inclusion criteria were that the studies assessed or discussed the incidence of medication errors and contributory factors to medication errors during the medication treatment process in adults or in children. Results Forty-five studies from 10 of the 15 Middle Eastern countries met the inclusion criteria. Nine (20 %) studies focused on medication errors in paediatric patients. Twenty-one focused on prescribing errors, 11 measured administration errors, 12 were interventional studies and one assessed transcribing errors. Dispensing and documentation errors were inadequately evaluated. Error rates varied from 7.1 % to 90.5 % for prescribing and from 9.4 % to 80 % for administration. The most common types of prescribing errors reported were incorrect dose (with an incidence rate from 0.15 % to 34.8 % of prescriptions), wrong frequency and wrong strength. Computerised physician rder entry and clinical pharmacist input were the main interventions evaluated. Poor knowledge of medicines was identified as a contributory factor for errors by both doctors (prescribers) and nurses (when administering drugs). Most studies did not assess the clinical severity of the medication errors. Conclusion Studies related to medication errors in the Middle Eastern countries were relatively few in number and of poor quality. Educational programmes on drug therapy for doctors and nurses are urgently needed.
    European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 10/2012; 69(4). DOI:10.1007/s00228-012-1435-y · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    • "Chemical incompatibilities can lead to a decrease in drug delivery, drug degradation, and/or production of toxic products. Physicochemical incompatibilities have been reported in a series of observational studies in intensive care units [4-7]. The use of separate venous access sites can prevent contact between incompatible drugs, but all too often there are fewer venous accesses than the number of drugs infused. "
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    ABSTRACT: Patients in intensive care units receive many drugs simultaneously but through limited venous accesses. Several intravenous therapies have to be administered through the same catheter, thus increasing the risk of physicochemical incompatibility. The purpose of this work was to assess and to quantify the impact of physical incompatibility on the mass flow rates of drugs infused simultaneously to the patient, through an in vitro study. Furosemide-midazolam incompatibility was used to assess the impact of physical incompatibility on drug mass flow rates. Furosemide, midazolam, and saline were simultaneously infused. A filter was added at the end of the infusion line to retain visible particles. Two infusion conditions were tested with and without visible particles. A partial least square method on UV spectra was used to determine simultaneously the concentrations of the two drugs at the egress of the terminal extension line. The drug mass flow rate (expressed as mg/h) was calculated as the product of drug concentration versus total flow rate. Observed/theoretical mass flow rate ratios for each drug (%) were determined per infusion condition. Even in the absence of visible particles, precipitation of furosemide led to a drug loss estimated at between 10% and 15%. Furosemide is more impacted by interaction because the pH of the mixture is acid and this form is poorly soluble in an aqueous solution. Physical incompatibility between furosemide and midazolam leads to a significant reduction in drug delivered to the patient and may result in treatment failure.
    Annals of Intensive Care 07/2012; 2(1):28. DOI:10.1186/2110-5820-2-28 · 3.31 Impact Factor
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