Spoonfuls can lead to medicine errors, study finds - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Spoonfuls can lead to medicine errors, study finds

Posted: Updated:

CHICAGO (AP) -- The song says a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but a study says that kind of imprecise measurement can lead to potentially dangerous dosing mistakes.

The results, published online Monday in Pediatrics, underscore recommendations that droppers and syringes that measure in milliliters be used for liquid medicines - not spoons.

The study involved nearly 300 parents, mostly Hispanics, with children younger than 9 years old. The youngsters were treated for various illnesses at two New York City emergency rooms and sent home with prescriptions for liquid medicines, mostly antibiotics.

Parents were contacted afterward and asked by phone how they had measured the prescribed doses. They also brought their measuring devices to the researchers' offices to demonstrate doses they'd given their kids.

Parents who used spoonfuls "were 50% more likely to give their children incorrect doses than those who measured in more precise milliliter units," said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a co-author and associate professor at New York University's medical school.

Incorrect doses included giving too much and too little, which can both be dangerous, he said. Underdosing may not adequately treat an illness and can lead to medication-resistant infections, while overdoses may cause illness or side effects that can be life-threatening. The study doesn't include information on any ill effects from dosing mistakes.

Almost one-third of the parents gave the wrong dose and 1 in 6 used a kitchen spoon rather than a device like an oral syringe or dropper that lists doses in milliliters.

Less than half the prescriptions specified doses in milliliters. But even when they did, the medicine bottle label often listed doses in teaspoons. Parents often assume that means any similar-sized kitchen spoon, the authors said.

"Outreach to pharmacists and other health professionals is needed to promote the consistent use of milliliter units between prescriptions and bottle labels," the authors said.

---

Online:

Pediatrics: http://www.pediatrics.org

FDA: http://tinyurl.com/oc3bnlk

---

AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Latest health newsMore>>

  • WHO: Ebola moving faster than control efforts

    WHO: Ebola moving faster than control efforts

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:20 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:20:19 GMT
    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.
    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.
  • US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

    US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:22 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:22:49 GMT
    U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by an outbreak of Ebola.
    U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by an outbreak of Ebola.
  • PulsePoint app alerts CPR trained citizens to people having a heart attack

    PulsePoint app alerts CPR trained citizens to people having a heart attack

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:03 AM EDT2014-07-30 15:03:43 GMT
    There is an app that is getting help to the people who need it most. PulsePoint is activated when local fire or ems are dispatched for a cardiac arrest call. CPR trained "average joes" in the area who have downloaded the app get alerted and can show up to help save a live.
    There is an app that is getting help to the people who need it most. PulsePoint is activated when local fire or ems are dispatched for a cardiac arrest call. CPR trained "average joes" in the area who have downloaded the app get alerted and can show up to help save a live.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices