Selenium toxicosis in a flock of Katahdin hair sheep. (1/850)

Selenium supplementation by injection is a common practice. Acute toxicosis from dosaging errors may occur. In this report, 23 of 56 ewes and all 24 lambs injected with selenium died. Tissue, whole blood, and serum concentrations aided in the diagnosis. Caution should be taken when supplementing selenium by injection.  (+info)

Ward pharmacy: a foundation for prescribing audit? (2/850)

OBJECTIVES: To determine the extent and nature of prescription monitoring incidents by hospital pharmacists and to derive a performance indicator to allow prescription monitoring to be compared among hospitals in North West Thames region. DESIGN: Survey of all self recorded prescription monitoring incidents for one week in June 1990. SETTING: All (31) acute hospitals in the region with pharmacy departments on site, covering 10,337 beds. SUBJECTS: 210 pharmacists. MAIN MEASURES: Number of prescription monitoring incidents recorded, their nature, and outcome; a performance indicator of prescription monitoring (incidents/100 beds/week) and its variation according to specialty and site. RESULTS: 3273 prescription monitoring incidents were recorded (median 89 per hospital, range 3-301), the most common being related to the dose and frequency of administration of the drug (933 incidents, 29%). These incidents led to alterations of prescriptions on 1611 occasions; the pharmacist's advice was rejected on 81. The greatest number of prescription monitoring incidents/100 beds/week by specialty was recorded for intensive therapy units (median 75); the medians for medicine and surgery were 32 and 21 respectively. This performance indicator varied 20-fold when analysed by site, values ranging from 3.6 to 82.1 (median 29.8). CONCLUSIONS: Hospital pharmacists play a large part in monitoring and improving prescribing, and most of their interventions are related to the basics of prescribing. They therefore have a role in medical audit, working with clinicians to identify prescribing problems, and to set standards and monitor practice. A performance indicator of prescription monitoring incidents/100 beds/week allows comparison of pharmacists' activities among sites and may be a valuable tool in auditing them.  (+info)

Medication errors during hospital drug rounds. (3/850)

Objective--To determine the nature and rate of drug administration errors in one National Health Service hospital. Design--Covert observational survey be tween January and April 1993 of drug rounds with intervention to stop drug administration errors reaching the patient. Setting--Two medical, two surgical, and two medicine for the elderly wards in a former district general hospital, now a NHS trust hospital. Subjects--37 Nurses performing routine single nurse drug rounds. Main measures--Drug administration errors recorded by trained observers. Results--Seventy four drug rounds were observed in which 115 errors occurred during 3312 drug administrations. The overall error rate was 3.5% (95% confidence interval 2.9% to 4.1%). Errors owing to omissions, because the drug had not been supplied or located or the prescription had not been seen, accounted for most (68%, 78) of the errors. Wrong doses accounted for 15% (17) errors, four of which were greater than the prescribed dose. The dose was given within two hours of the time indicated by the prescriber in 98.2% of cases. Conclusion--The observed rate of drug administration errors is too high. It might be reduced by a multidisciplinary review of practices in prescribing, supply, and administration of drugs.  (+info)

The impact of computerized physician order entry on medication error prevention. (4/850)

BACKGROUND: Medication errors are common, and while most such errors have little potential for harm they cause substantial extra work in hospitals. A small proportion do have the potential to cause injury, and some cause preventable adverse drug events. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of computerized physician order entry (POE) with decision support in reducing the number of medication errors. DESIGN: Prospective time series analysis, with four periods. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: All patients admitted to three medical units were studied for seven to ten-week periods in four different years. The baseline period was before implementation of POE, and the remaining three were after. Sophistication of POE increased with each successive period. INTERVENTION: Physician order entry with decision support features such as drug allergy and drug-drug interaction warnings. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Medication errors, excluding missed dose errors. RESULTS: During the study, the non-missed-dose medication error rate fell 81 percent, from 142 per 1,000 patient-days in the baseline period to 26.6 per 1,000 patient-days in the final period (P < 0.0001). Non-intercepted serious medication errors (those with the potential to cause injury) fell 86 percent from baseline to period 3, the final period (P = 0.0003). Large differences were seen for all main types of medication errors: dose errors, frequency errors, route errors, substitution errors, and allergies. For example, in the baseline period there were ten allergy errors, but only two in the following three periods combined (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Computerized POE substantially decreased the rate of non-missed-dose medication errors. A major reduction in errors was achieved with the initial version of the system, and further reductions were found with addition of decision support features.  (+info)

Elderly patients in general practice: diagnoses, drugs and inappropriate prescriptions. A report from the More & Romsdal Prescription Study. (5/850)

BACKGROUND: Elderly patients are particularly vulnerable and most at risk of suffering adverse drug reactions, which are often caused by inappropriate prescribing practice. Gaining insight into physicians' drug prescribing patterns in order to identify prescribing problems is the fundamental first step in trying to improve the quality of prescribing. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to describe drug prescribing in general practice for elderly patients, using patients' age and sex, encounters, indications for prescribing and the occurrence of some predefined inappropriate drug prescriptions. METHODS: A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted in the Norwegian county of More & Romsdal. All patient contacts (n = 16 874) and prescriptions (n = 16 774) issued during two months in general practice were recorded. In defining inappropriate prescriptions, explicit criteria were used. RESULTS: Prescriptions (of which 72% were repeat) were issued during two-thirds of all contacts, and 63% were for females. Seventy per cent of all prescriptions were made up by the ten most commonly prescribed therapeutic groups, for which the three most frequent diagnostic indications for prescribing comprised between 47 and 89% of all diagnoses for prescribing each of them. About one in six patients who received a benzodiazepine tranquillizer was concurrently prescribed another benzodiazepine for sleeping problems. In total, 13.5% of all prescriptions met at least one of the criteria listed for pharmacological inappropriateness. CONCLUSION: Inappropriate drug prescriptions for elderly patients are common in general practice. Since the majority of the prescribing practice is made up by rather few diagnoses and drugs, improved practice for only a few may nevertheless have a large impact on the total profile.  (+info)

Medication education of acutely hospitalized older patients. (6/850)

OBJECTIVES: To determine the amount of time spent providing medication education to older patients, the impact of medication education on patients' knowledge and satisfaction, and barriers to providing medication education. DESIGN: Telephone survey of patients within 48 hours of hospital discharge and direct survey of physicians and pharmacists. SETTING: Internal medicine ward in a tertiary care teaching hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Patients 65 years of age and over regularly taking at least one medication. MEASUREMENTS: Patient demographics, medication use, time spent receiving or providing medication education, and satisfaction scores. MAIN RESULTS: Forty-seven respondents with a mean age of 77.1 years reported that physicians spent a mean of 10.5 minutes (range, 0-60 minutes) and pharmacists spent a mean of 5.3 minutes (range, 0-40 minutes) providing medication education. Fifty-one percent reported receiving no education from either physician or pharmacist, and only 30% reported receiving written medication instructions. Respondents were generally quite satisfied with their education. Physicians identified one or more barriers to providing education 51% of the time and pharmacists 80%. Lack of time was the most common barrier (18%) identified by physicians, but pharmacists cited lack of notification of discharge plans (41%) and lack of time (39%) as the main barriers. Respondents made many medication errors and knew little about their medications. CONCLUSIONS: Although older hospitalized patients received little medication education or written information and made many medication errors with and without medication education, approximately one half of physicians perceived no barriers to providing education.  (+info)

Antibiotic dispensing by drug retailers in Kathmandu, Nepal. (7/850)

OBJECTIVES To assess over-the-counter antimicrobial dispensing by drug retailers in Kathmandu, Nepal, for rationality, safety, and compliance with existing government regulations. METHODS: Standardized cases of dysuria in a young adult male and acute watery diarrhoea in a child were presented by a mock patient to retailers at 100 randomly selected pharmacies. Questions asked by retailers and advice and medications given at their initiative were recorded. RESULTS: All retailers engaged in diagnostic and therapeutic behaviour beyond their scope of training or legal mandate. Historical information obtained by retailers was inadequate to determine the nature or severity of disease or appropriateness of antimicrobial therapy. 97% (95% CI = 91.5-99.4%) of retailers dispensed unnecessary antimicrobials in diarrhoea, while only 44% (95% CI = 34.1-54.3%) recommended oral rehydration therapy and only 3% (95% CI = 0.6-8.5%) suggested evaluation by a physician. 38% (95% CI = 28.5-48.2%) gave antimicrobials in dysuria, yet only 4% (95% CI = 1.1-9.9%) adequately covered cystitis. None covered upper urinary tract or sexually transmitted infections, conditions which could not be ruled out based on the interviews, and only 7% (95% CI = 2.9-13. 9%) referred for a medical history and physical examination necessary to guide therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Although legislation in Nepal mandates a medical prescription for purchase of antibiotics, unauthorized dispensing is clearly problematic. Drug retailers in our study did not demonstrate adequate understanding of the disease processes in question to justify their use of these drugs. Risks of such indiscretion include harm to individual patients as well as spread of antimicrobial resistance. More intensive efforts to educate drug retailers on their role in dispensing, along with increased enforcement of existing regulations, must be pursued.  (+info)

Neural toxicity induced by accidental intrathecal vincristine administration. (8/850)

Described here is a case of accidental intrathecal administration of vincristine with pathologic findings in the central nervous system. A 3-year-old boy with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was given his ninth course chemotherapy. Vincristine was accidentally injected intrathecally. The clinical course was rapidly progressive (6-day course) and resulted in death. An autopsy was done. The brain and spinal cord was grossly edematous and congested without any specific feature. Histologically, profound loss of neuron was noted in the spinal cord. Remaining neurons in the spinal cord, particularly anterior horn cells were markedly swollen. The spinal nerves show diffuse axonal degeneration and myelin loss. The upstream portion of the spinal cord (brain stem, cerebellum, cerebrum) showed patchy loss of neurons, especially Purkinje cells and granular cells of the cerebellar cortex. Many neurons showed axonal reaction (chromatolysis) with swelling. Several neurons show intracytoplasmic eosinophilic inclusion body. Myelin loss, axonal swelling and enlargement of perivascular spaces were seen throughout the white matter of central nervous system.  (+info)