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Background: Drug prescription error is a medication error that most frequently happens in healthcare organizations and adversely affects the healthcare consumers. Most medication errors (MEs) but not all are captured and corrected before reaching the patient by designed system controls. Medication administration errors (MAEs) mostly are made by nurses but frequently reported by clinical pharmacists in hospitals in Saudi Arabia.
Objective: This study aimed to analyze exclusively the voluntarily reported drug administration errors in a tertiary care hospital in Riyadh city.
Methods: This cross-sectional, retrospective study evaluated consecutively collected medication administration report forms over a period of one year from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.
Results: The number of MAEs occurring during stage of drug administration constituted 7.1% (n=971) of total medication errors (n=13677). The maximum number of MEs (n=6838, 50%) and MAEs (n=455, 46.9%) occurred during the 4th quarter of the year 2015. The most common MAE happened to be category C (n=888, 91.5%) which means error occurred, reached the patient but without causing any harm. Concerning MAE types, the most common error included wrong frequency (40%) followed by wrong drug (17%), wrong time of administration (16%) and wrong rate of infusion (10%). Nurses made the most of the errors (92.2%) while the clinical pharmacists reported the most MAEs (75.5%). High alert medications (HAM) errors constituted 32.3% (n=314) of MAEs (n=971) and most common HAM errors included the wrong route of administration of Lanus Insulin (15%) followed by Insulin Aspart (15%), Enoxaparin (13%) and Insulin Protamine-Nvomix (12%). Look-alike and sound-alike (LASA) errors constituted 55.2% of MAEs (971/536) and most common LASA drugs identified were Gentamycin (13%), Insulin Mixtard (11%), NPH Insulin (8%) Intralipid vial (8%) and Insulin regular (6%).
Conclusion: This retrospective study provides some important tentative pharmacovigilance insights into MAEs, which are partially comparable with current international trends in drug administration errors. Further studies on MAEs are warranted not only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but also other Gulf countries.
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