When a doctor administers a medication to a patient, it is very important that he or she measures out the correct dose. This is especially the case when medicine is given to young children and babies. Depending on the medication, an incorrect dose can lead to serious health problems. A recent study has indicated that infants and babies might be at an increased risk of receiving incorrect doses when it comes to certain medications.
The study was led by a doctor from the University of Toronto. The study focused on medications given to young children and infants. The study particularly focused on medications that were given to children in small doses. These small doses are required in certain instances because some medications are mixed in high concentrations in their commercially-available forms. Thus, they are so potent that can only be given to children and infants in small amounts.
The study concluded that the current methods used in administering these small doses to infants and young children could put these patients at risk of receiving an incorrect dose. Reportedly, the equipment that is currently used by hospitals does not allow for these small doses to be accurately measured. Because of this shortcoming, there is an increased chance that these doses will be incorrect when they are measured out by medical professionals.
Incorrect dosing in these circumstances could be very harmful to infants and children. Because of the potency of the drugs that are commonly given in small doses, even minor deviations from the correct amount could have serious health effects. Thus, this inaccuracy could pose a major health risk to young children.
This study brings up some important and troubling issues. We all want children to be as healthy and safe as possible. However, this study indicates that current practices in the medical field may be putting children at risk when they receive certain medications. One hopes that doctors, hospitals and medication manufacturers will work to find ways to address this problem and ensure that children do receive the correct dose when they are given medications.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Preparing Small Doses of Medication From Syringes Called Risky,” Robert Preidt, 24 Jan 2010