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Medication errors in infants at home
  1. Shalini Ojha,
  2. Imti Choonara
  1. Academic Unit of Child Health, University of Nottingham, Derbyshire Children's Hospital, Derby, UK
  1. Correspondence to Emeritus Professor Imti Choonara, Academic Unit of Child Health, University of Nottingham, Derbyshire Children's Hospital, Uttoxeter Road, Derby DE22 3NE, UK; imti.choonara{at}nottingham.ac.uk

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The study by Solanki and colleagues involved interviewing 166 parents/grandparents at home regarding the medications that had been prescribed at discharge to their infants by the hospital staff.1 As part of the study, the parents were also asked to demonstrate how much medicine they would give. With this methodology, Solanki et al estimated that two out of three of the infants in their study would have experienced medication errors at home. This is an alarmingly high proportion of medication errors. Fortunately, none of the infants experienced significant harm. The authors have suggested that this high rate may be due to lack of parental education and inadequate predischarge counselling. The study was performed in Pondicherry, India. It would be wrong, however, to dismiss the relevance of their findings when considering the possibility of medication errors among neonates discharged from centres from high-income countries, such as the UK.

How frequent are medication errors?

Medication errors are often not recognised, and even when detected, often under-reported. It is difficult to state the prevalence of medication errors in paediatric patients because of the wide variation in the definition of medication errors used by different investigators.2 A literature review published in 2007 identified 11 studies looking at medication errors …

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