FDA Tips for Administering OTC Medication to Children—to Reduce Medication Error Injury

In a previous Washington D.C. medication error injury lawyer blog, we covered the recent guidelines announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aimed to prevent medication errors and overdoses with children’s over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

According to the FDA, accidental medication errors and overdoses in young children are a common health problem, but a problem that is entirely preventable. The new guidelines are aimed to reduce frequent medication administration errors that happen as a result of confusing label instructions, inconsistency with the drug measuring devices, and confusion over the exact units of medication measurement—to prevent harm or injury.

Along with the new medication error prevention guidelines, the FDA also outlined tips for parents and caregivers, to reduce administration error when giving medicine to a child or infant.

According to the FDA, always:

• Know the active ingredients in the medicine that you are giving to your child.
• Read and follow the drug facts label on all medicines that are OTC.
• Use the tools for dosage administration that come with the medicine. Never use tools from other medication.
• Be aware of the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.
• Know your child’s weight exactly.
• Check the medicine three times.
• Make sure to give the right medicine in the exact amount that is directed.
• Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to make sure which medicines can be used at the same time.
• Store your medicines in a safe place that is out of reach for children.
• Make sure to use caps on all medicines that are child-resistant.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a medication error in the Washington, D.C. area, contact our lawyers at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC for a free consultation.

FDA Issues Guidelines for Liquid OTC Medicines, Health Day, May 4, 2011
FDA: Stricter over-the-counter labeling needed, Packaging Digest.com, May 17, 2011
Panel Calls for Label Changes on Acetaminophen Products, WSJ, May 19, 2011
Clearer kids’ dosing urged for acetaminophen-containing meds, CNN, May 18, 2011

Related Web Resources:

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children: Patient Fact Sheet, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

Related Blog Posts:

FDA Redesigns Pharmacy Packet Inserts to Avoid Medication Error Injury, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011
Study Finds Small Doses of Drugs From Syringes Could Cause Medication Error in Children, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 4, 2011

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