If there's anything worse than being a parent of a chronically ill child, it could only be watching that child suffer through a medication mistake. Unfortunately, these errors are not only commonplace, they are often the result of a parent's administration of the drug.
According to a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting, parent medication errors when giving prescription drugs to children at home were overwhelmingly common.
Over the course of their research, the study's authors visited the homes of 83 children who were suffering from cancer, sickle cell disease, and epilepsy. Since these children require several different medications with varying doses on a daily basis, there is a far greater chance of pharmacy mistakes, label errors and wrong dosages than in the average household.
After researchers watched 166 drugs being administered, they found the following results:
- 128 medication errors occurred, including incorrectly labeled chemotherapy drugs and dosage mistakes.
- Of those mistakes, 73 had the potential to cause injury and 10 actually did cause harm.
- In one case, a chemotherapy label incorrectly called for six tablets a day when the child was supposed to have only seven a week.
- The two most common factors for errors were homes that didn't keep all medications in one place and homes where children administered their own medications without parental supervision.