Background Clinical Pharmacists review prescriptions for safe and economic use. Prescribing for children involves increased complexity and errors have potentially more serious consequences.
Method Paediatric pharmacists’ interventions logs were entered into a database and analysed. A harm category using the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (MERP) algorithm (1) and type of intervention was assigned to each. Some interventions records were assigned more than one type e.g. renal impairment and wrong frequency.
Results Of the 500 records, 489 interventions prevented harm as seen in the table below (category A-D).
Interventions were not captured before administration on 260 (52%) occasions, 113 of thee were via the parenteral route. Wrong dose was cause for intervention in 41.8% prescriptions (115 dose too high, 94 underdose) and incorrect frequency in 67 (13.4%). There were 18 interventions involving wrong calculation, decimal point or unit of mass errors. Formulation issues were the cause of 38 (7.6%) interventions which 7/38 also involved cost savings. Altered drug handling e.g renal impairment, prematurity was involved in 105 (21%) interventions. Ambiguous prescribing or legalities led to 58 (11.6%) interventions. There were 35 (7%) unintentional errors as a result of incorrect or incomplete drug history taking on admission.
Conclusions Paediatric prescribing errors reaching and harming paediatric patients can be reduced as a result of timely intervention by pharmacists.