CDC warns of infectious disease outbreaks with single-dose vials used for multiple patients

May 11, 2012
From staff reports

Because of the drug shortage crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminded healthcare providers this week that ?single dose? or ?single use? medications can be used for only one patient.

Because of the drug shortage crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminded healthcare providers this week that “single-dose” or “single-use” medications can be used for only one patient.

“CDC routinely investigates and is apprised of infectious disease outbreaks involving single-dose/single-use vials being used for multiple patients. These outbreaks cause extensive harm to patients, and they are associated with significant healthcare and legal expenses,” the CDC said in a new position statement. Since CDC’s safe practice guidelines were published in 2007, there have been at least 19 outbreaks associated with single-dose, single-unit medications.

It is imperative that drug shortages and drug waste concerns are dealt with appropriately and do not lead to unsafe medical practices that impose increased disease risk on patients, according to the position statement. “Shortages of some essential medications may warrant implementation of meticulously applied practice and quality standards to subdivide contents of single-dose/single-use vials,” the statement said.

The statement includes a list of basic safe injection practices, a chart summarizing related misperceptions versus facts, and CDC’s responses to frequently-asked questions about single-dose/single-use vials.

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