"Spoonful" of Medicine Could Be Dangerous
the MPR take:
New research in the journal Pediatrics has found that parents who use a nonstandard instrument as a unit of measurement for pediatric liquid medications (i.e. a teaspoon or tablespoon) were more likely to make errors in the prescribed dose vs. parents who used milliliter-only measuring instruments. 287 parents whose children were prescribed liquid medications in two emergency departments were assessed on medical errors, defined as knowledge of prescribed dose and/or error in observed dose measurement (vs. intended or prescribed dose). 39.4% of parents made an error in measuring the intended dose and 41.1% made an error in the prescribed dose; 16.7% used a nonstandard instrument for measurement. Parents using a teaspoon or tablespoon had double the risk of errors with the intended and prescribed dose. Parents should read all medication dosing instructions carefully and ditch the teaspoon or tablespoon; doctors should emphasize this potential danger with parents as well.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Adopting the milliliter as the preferred unit of measurement has been suggested as a strategy to improve the clarity of medication instructions; teaspoon and tablespoon units may inadvertently endorse nonstandard kitchen spoon use. We examined the association between ...
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