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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 260-265

Medication errors in neonatal intensive care unit of a tertiary care hospital in South India: A prospective observational study

1 Department of Pharmacology, St John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Paediatrics, Division of Neonatology, St John's Medical College Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. D Padmini Devi
Department of Pharmacology, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru - 560 034, Karnataka, India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijp.IJP_611_19

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INTRODUCTION: Medication errors (MEs) can prolong hospital stay and are a cause of morbidity and mortality. Studies evaluating MEs and its determinants in Indian neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are limited. Therefore, this study was done to assess the prevalence, characteristics, determinants, and outcomes of MEs in an Indian NICU setting. METHODOLOGY: A prospective observational study was conducted over a 1-year period (January–December 2016) among neonates receiving medications in NICU. Systematic random sampling was done, and data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire after obtaining informed consent from the mother. An ME self-reporting system was also established. Data were analyzed using Chi-squared test and Student's t-test. Binary logistic regression was used to analyze the determinants of MEs. RESULTS: Among 269 babies included in the study, 57% (n = 154) were male babies with mean (standard deviation [SD]) birth weight of 2.59 kg (0.701). About 79% (n = 213/269) of the neonates were appropriate for gestational age. The mean (SD) duration of stay in NICU was 7.58 (5.07) days, and 67% of the babies had polypharmacy (use of ≥5 medications). The prevalence of MEs was 22% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 16.96%, 26.84%, n = 108) of all babies, of which only 2% (n = 2) were life threatening. Seventy-seven percent (n = 83) of these errors occurred during administration/preparation and 18% (n = 19) while prescribing. The significant determinants of MEs (adjusted odds ratio [95% CI]) include polypharmacy (4.126 [1.917–8.880]), duration of stay >7 days (1.335 [1.198–1.488]), and babies referred from outside (2.592 [1.217–5.521]). CONCLUSIONS: MEs were common in NICU setting. The occurrence of life-threatening MEs was minimal. Longer duration of hospital stay, polypharmacy, and babies born outside were significantly associated with occurrence of MEs.


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