Children are sensitive to medication, especially if they get the wrong dosage. Unfortunately, kids receive the wrong medications and wrong doses of drugs all too frequently. According to a survey of approximately 200 Michigan pharmacies, children who switch pharmacies are at risk of a prescription dosage error.
The survey results are what led a team at the University of Michigan to create a new standard for children’s medicine. The survey revealed the potential safety risks to kids due to the lack of standardization for children’s liquid prescription concentrations. As a result of the many different concentrations being compounded at pharmacies, it was discovered that there is a lack of standardization of compounded pediatric liquid medications.
This is why the team at U-M is leading a statewide initiative to standardize liquid prescriptions for kids, in order to reduce child-related dosing errors and overall medication errors. As a result, Michigan would be the first state to standardize concentrations for kids’ liquid prescriptions.
“One of the greatest dangers associated with this variation is that children may switch pharmacies but continue to take the same volume as always—without parents or even doctors realizing that the drug’s concentration has changed and that a new dose volume should be prescribed,” says project lead James Stevenson, Pharm.D., FASHP, Chief Pharmacy Officer of the UMHS Pharmacy Services Department and associate dean at the U-M College of Pharmacy.
Because kids take mostly liquid medications, there are a number of medications that have to be compounded. Whether a child is taking Adderall or Baclofen, pediatric oral liquid medications are compounded differently at different pharmacies. This can cause a pediatric patient to receive a different strength of prescription than what he or she was getting at the other pharmacy—leading to a pharmacy dosing error. This is why children who switch pharmacies might be in danger of dosage errors.
Before the new standardized recommendations, pharmacists were known to use many different concentrations when compounding drugs. “The drastic differences in concentrations patients could receive depending on which pharmacy compounded their prescriptions were deeply concerning, and these uniform standards are essential for patient safety. We are urging all prescribers and pharmacies to follow our recommended standards to avoid potentially harmful medication errors,” stated Stevenson.
As pharmacy error attorneys, we are thrilled to hear about the new standardized recommendations in Michigan, and hope that more states recommend standards of this nature to help children avoid getting the wrong dosage. To help those you know learn about the differences in pediatric liquid compounding concentrations, please share this article on Facebook or Twitter.