Medication Errors Involving Oral Chemotherapy

College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts
Cancer (Impact Factor: 5.2). 05/2010; 116(10):2455 - 2464. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.25027

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND:Given the expanding use of oral chemotherapies, the authors set out to examine errors in the prescribing, dispensing, administration, and monitoring of these drugs.METHODS:Reports were collected of oral chemotherapy-associated medication errors from a medical literature and Internet search and review of reports to the Medication Errors Reporting Program and MEDMARX. The authors solicited incident reports from 14 comprehensive cancer centers, and also collected incident reports, pharmacy interventions, and prompted clinician reports from their own center. They classified the type of incident, severity, stage in the medication use process, and type of medication error. They examined the yield of the various reporting methods to identify oral chemotherapy-related medication errors.RESULTS:The authors identified 99 adverse drug events, 322 near misses, and 87 medical errors with low risk of harm. Of the 99 adverse drug events, 20 were serious or life-threatening, 52 were significant, and 25 were minor. The most common medication errors involved wrong dose (38.8%), wrong drug (13.6%), wrong number of days supplied (11.0%), and missed dose (10.0%). The majority of errors resulted in a near miss; however, 39.3% of reports involving the wrong number of days supplied resulted in adverse drug events. Incidents derived from the literature search and hospital incident reporting system included a larger percentage of adverse drug events (73.1% and 58.8%, respectively) compared with other sources.CONCLUSIONS:Ensuring oral chemotherapy safety requires improvements in the way these drugs are ordered, dispensed, administered, and monitored. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.

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