Since medications are available in different doses, it is critical that doctors prescribe the correct dose and pharmacists fill the right dose of medication for each and every patient. However, doctors and pharmacists aren’t the only ones who make mistakes with medication dosages. In fact, adults quite often make dosing mistakes by spooning up the wrong dose.
Even though research through the years has indicated that kitchen spoons are a factor in dosing errors, people continue to use them to measure a dose of liquid medication. Sadly, parents are often responsible for their children overdosing because they generally believe they can estimate the proper dose by using a kitchen spoon. Interestingly, dosing errors reported to poison control centers continue to occur because people fail to distinguish between a tablespoon and teaspoon.
Study Looks at How the Size of the Spoon Influences Medication Poured
When people use spoons from the kitchen to measure liquid medications, they can get the wrong dose of liquid. This is because every kitchen spoon ranges in size, and the size of the spoon can determine whether an overdose or underdose occurs. When larger kitchen spoons are used, the dose seems small—leading to a drug overdose. Unfortunately, trying to estimate the right dose with a kitchen spoon almost always turns out wrong.
Several studies have been conducted regarding medication dosage errors made by spoons. Researchers at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab had 195 students pour five milliliters of cold medicine into a 5 milliliter teaspoon to see what this size of dose looked like. They then asked students to pour a similar amount into two other spoons—a 15 milliliter tablespoon and a 45 milliliter serving spoon. The study found:
- There was a 20-percent different in the amount poured into the medium and large spoons
- Students underdosed by eight-percent when using the medium spoon
- Students overdosed by 12-percent when using the large spoon
Unfortunately, many people cannot tell how much five milliliters measures, which is why it is scary that many parents are confident in their ability to estimate a medication dose using a household spoon. This is why our pharmacy error attorneys urge parents to always use a measuring dropper, syringe, or measuring cap than relying on a kitchen spoon.
If your child was injured due to a wrong dose by a negligent pharmacist, please contact Kennedy Hodges to speak with an experienced lawyer at 888-526-7616 in a free consultation today, and also request a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.