Medication errors are some of the most common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors and healthcare providers. In some cases, a doctor might accidentally prescribe a dangerously-high dose to a patient. In others, they might prescribe the wrong medication altogether. But doctors aren’t the only ones who can make medication errors.
Recently, a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that over 80 percent of parents have made at least 1 dosing error when administering medication to their children. Of those, roughly 12 percent were overdosing errors. Now, the researchers behind the study are calling on pharmaceutical companies to improve drug labels and provide consumers with tools that make it easier to properly dose medications.
The study’s findings were based on a survey of 500 parents with young children. The parents were split at random into four groups, each of which was given different drug labels and dosing tools that varied in format and units of measurement. The researchers found that the parents who received illustrated dosing diagrams on their drug labels were less likely to commit dosage errors. Parents who received dosing tools that closely matched prescribed dose volumes were also less likely to make errors.
Rather than placing blame on parents, the researchers are concerned that poorly-designed drug labeling and packaging make it easy to accidentally administer doses that are either too high or too low. With this in mind, the researchers issued a recommendation for drug manufacturers to include “pictographic dosing diagrams” on drug labels, and accurate dosing tools such as oral syringes in their packaging.