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An integrative review of drug errors in critical care

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon Baudouin, Dr Peter Messer


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© The Intensive Care Society 2015.Medication error is the commonest cause of medical error and the consequences can be grave. This integrative review was undertaken to critically appraise recent literature to further define prevalence, most frequently-implicated drugs and effects on patient morbidity and mortality in the critical care environment. Forty studies were compared revealing a markedly heterogeneous data set with significant variability in reported incidence. There is an important differentiation to be made between medication error (incidence 5.1-967 per 1000 patient days) and adverse drug event (incidence 1-96.5 per 1000 patient days) with significant ramifications for patient outcome and cost. The most commonly implicated drugs were cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, antimicrobial and hypoglycaemic agents. Beneficial interventions to reduce such errors include computerised prescribing, education and pharmacist input. The studies described provide insight into suboptimal management in the critical care environment and have implications for the development of specific improvement strategies and future training.

Publication metadata

Author(s): MacFie CC, Baudouin SV, Messer PB

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the Intensive Care Society

Year: 2016

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Pages: 63-72

Print publication date: 01/02/2016

Online publication date: 14/10/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1751-1437

ISSN (electronic): 2057-360X

Publisher: SAGE Publications Inc.


DOI: 10.1177/1751143715605119