Administration error rates are lower for drugs given by dosage systems than for unmonitored medications

March 1, 2011

In a new study of medication administration at nursing homes and residential homes, administration errors were 4 times as likely to occur with liquids than with medications given by dispensers and other monitored dosage systems.

In a new study of medication administration at nursing homes and residential homes, administration errors were 4 times as likely to occur with liquids than with medications given by dispensers and other monitored dosage systems (MDS).

Researchers at the University of Leeds in Leeds, United Kingdom, and other U.K. facilities found that the odds of error occurring when medication was administered with inhalers was 33.58; the odds of administration errors with topical/transdermals/injections was 19.61; and the odds of administration errors with liquids was 4.31. The error odds were applied to facilities using MDS.

“Inhalers and liquid medications were associated with significantly increased odds of administration errors. Training of staff in safe administration of these formulations needs implementing,” the researchers wrote in the study, published in BMJ Quality & Safety. However, the odds of administration errors for tablets and capsules not in MDS were double those dispensed in MDS.

“Although there was some evidence that MDS reduced the odds of an administration error, the use of MDS impacts on other aspects of medicine management. Because of this, and as the primary topic of our study was not MDS, a prospective trial specifically designed to evaluate the overall impact of MDS on medication management in care homes is needed,” the researchers wrote.