Navigation Links
At-Home Drug Errors Common for Kids With Cancer, Research Shows
Date:5/3/2013

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children with cancer often have complex medication regimens -- sometimes as many as 20 drugs a day -- that they take at home, and mistakes are common, a new study finds.

Errors often occur when parents don't understand how to give the drugs, but mislabeled bottles and wrong prescriptions are also to blame, researchers say.

"Parents of children with cancer make many mistakes giving their children critical medicines, including chemotherapy at home," said lead researcher Dr. Kathleen Walsh, of the departments of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester.

Injuries were often related to under-dosing pain medication, which was causing pain for the children, she said. "Sometimes parents wouldn't fill prescriptions, or give the proper dose," Walsh said.

"One thing that was surprising was the high rate of errors that go on," she added. "This high rate of errors calls us to remind doctors and parents that they need to be aware that home medication use is fraught with error, so they need to give the medicines exactly as they are told to do."

That's not to blame parents, Walsh noted. "Usually parents weren't aware they were making mistakes. They weren't aware that what they were doing could be dangerous or could decrease the effectiveness of the medications they were using," she said.

Parental "workarounds" to get kids to take medicines could make them less effective.

For example, one child wouldn't take a chemotherapy drug, so the parent sprinkled it on his dinner not realizing the drug doesn't work when taken with food, Walsh said.

"Another parent wasn't using a pill cutter, but using a knife to cut the medication and so the chemotherapy was crumbling and much of it was left on the table," she explained. "Parents didn't realize this was a mistake."

Walsh thinks parents need more support in how they use medications at home. "Parents need to understand you need to give medications exactly as prescribed and if you are going to change that in any way you need to tell the doctor," she said.

The report was published in the May print issue of Pediatrics.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said that "when you are caught in the middle of the chaos and sadness of a sick child, it's not uncommon to see significant mistakes made when [parents are] giving medications to their children."

Many of the parents in the study were college educated, but no matter how well-educated the parents there are still many gaps in understanding how to administer chemotherapy at home, he said.

Lichtenfeld noted that these errors weren't always the parent's fault. "There were discrepancies between the labels on the drug and what the parents were supposed to do," he said. It's possible that the doctor changed the dose, but it was not reflected in the label from the pharmacy. This problem could be solved by better labeling, he added.

To gauge the scope of medical errors, Walsh's team visited the homes of 92 children with cancer and watched 242 medications being given. In addition, the team reviewed 963 prescriptions for the correct drug and dose.

In all, they found 72 medication errors, four of which were harmful to the child and 40 more that could have been harmful.

Two errors were classified as life-threatening, 13 as serious and 25 as significant errors. Most of the errors were for non-chemotherapy drugs, the researchers noted.

Another expert, Dr. Maggie Eidson, a pediatric oncologist at Miami Children's Hospital, said that "the fact that there are errors isn't surprising. It reminds us we need to give parents good tools to keep their dosing regimens clear and help parents to manage things at home better."

More information

To learn more about childhood cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Kathleen Walsh, M.D., departments of pediatrics, and medicine, University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, Worcester, Mass.; Maggie Eidson, M.D., pediatric oncologist, Miami Children's Hospital; Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society; May 2013, Pediatrics


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. The Gluten Free Society Launches Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease At-Home Testing
2. Progene® Celebrates its 10th Anniversary by Offering $10 Off Progene® All-Natural Testosterone Supplement or At-Home Testosterone Test Kit
3. At-Home Moms Cook, Shop, Play More With Kids: Study
4. FDA Panel Backs At-Home HIV Test
5. FDA Panel to Consider At-Home HIV Test
6. Adding Patient Photos to X-Rays May Cut Identification Errors
7. Picture this: A dramatic drop in wrong patient errors
8. A paradox for young docs: New work-hour restrictions may increase, not decrease, errors
9. Study: Electronic Prescribing Cuts Medication Errors
10. Texts, Other Distractions Tied to Errors at Work
11. Preventable Surgical Errors Continue to Occur: Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
At-Home Drug Errors Common for Kids With Cancer, Research Shows
(Date:5/26/2017)... , ... May 26, 2017 , ... ... first ever copper, antimicrobial, mesh back 24/7 task chair specifically designed for clinical ... “We are thrilled to partner with Cupron® to provide customers with a ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... After raising nearly $30,000 on Kickstarter , ... be available at a discounted crowdfunding price on Indiegogo . , “Along with ... also wanted to bring a fidget toy to the market that was made of ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... Silver Birch ... community, which is located on more than four acres of land at 5620 Sohl ... , The 103,000 square-foot building includes 125 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Each of ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... Dr. Alex Rabinovich, a highly-skilled oral surgeon specializing in ... post on insurance options. If a Bay Area patient has to search for a ... money. Visiting an in-network provider for a second opinion can ensure a patient receives ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... “THE FLINTHILLS FAMILY-Our Journey to the Cross”: the personal journey of Bob ... is the creation of published authors, Bob and Margaret Massey. Bob Massey is small ... "panther quick and leather tough." His love for others is apparent in all of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... 25, 2017  In response to the opioid epidemic ... Relief is working with Pfizer to make up to ... cost to community health centers, free and charitable clinics, ... "Pfizer has a long-standing commitment to improving ... patient safety through educational activities," said Caroline Roan ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... , May 18, 2017  Two Bayer U.S. ... Association (HBA) during its recent 28 th ... City.  The event showcases HBA,s longstanding mission of furthering ... of healthcare. Cindy Powell-Steffen , senior ... U.S. Radiology division, and Libby Howe , a ...
(Date:5/11/2017)... 11, 2017  Thornhill Research Inc. ( ... an $8,049,024 USD five-year, firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-quantity/indefinite-delivery contract by ... Commercial Corporation (CCC) ( Ottawa, Ontario, Canada ... administer general anesthesia to patients requiring emergency medical ... US Marine Corps have been a longtime partner ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: