Children can be especially vulnerable to prescription errors. Over 25 percent of all children’s prescriptions result in improper prescription or dosage, and the fault does not lie with a particular party. Instead, researchers have found that there is a breakdown in communication between doctors, pharmacists, and parents when it comes to medicating children.
Parents are often not receiving proper instruction from doctors and nurses on how to administer medication to their children. This leads to confusion when parents pick up the medication at the pharmacy, which leads to further errors at home.
Liquid Medications Cause Confusion
One of the most common errors in pediatric prescription drug administration is that liquid medications often do not come with a dosage cup or dropper. This leaves parents improvising when it comes time to administer the drug, which is never safe. One of the most common contributors of dosage errors is when a prescription calls for teaspoons or tablespoons. While there is a standard volume associated with a teaspoon (about 5 ml) and a tablespoon (about 15 ml), many parents use non-standard utensils, such as a teaspoon from the silverware drawer, to measure out the drug.
Studies have shown that children who were given prescriptions with teaspoon and tablespoon dosage measurement units were twice as likely to receive an improper dosage as children whose prescriptions came with dosages measured in milliliters. While a move to require liquid medications to be prescribed in milliliters has been suggested, it may take time for such changes to become mainstream.
Your hands are not tied when it comes to ensuring that your child is receiving the proper dose of his pediatric prescription. If the medication does not come with a dosing device, like a cup or spoon, ask the pharmacist if there is one available. Guesswork is never sufficient when it comes to your child’s health or safety.
While dosage problems at home account for some prescription errors, others originate with your doctor or pharmacy. If your child was prescribed an improper dose and suffered an illness or injury as a result, you may have a case. Contact us now by clicking the live chat link on this page, and let us help you get the answers you need.