TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Medication errors in homes
for the elderly are much less likely to occur if residents are
given pills or capsules dispensed from a monitored dosage system,
finds a new British study.
A monitored dosage system is a tray or cassette with
compartments for one or more doses for a particular day or a given
time. They're designed to simplify drug rounds for care-home staff
and reduce the risk of medication errors.
The study included 233 residents in 55 homes for the elderly in
the United Kingdom. Pills and capsules in dispensers accounted for
53 percent of medicines given to the residents, followed by pills
not in dispensers (29 percent), medicines in liquid form (9
percent) and medicines in inhalers (4 percent). The remainder were
injectables, creams and eye drops.
Compared with a pill/capsule from a dispenser, mistakes were two
times more likely to occur with a pill/capsule not in a dispenser;
four times more likely with a liquid medicine; 19 times more likely
with a cream, injection or eye drop; and more than 33 times more
likely with an inhaler, according to the report.
David Phillip Alldred, of the Academic Unit of Medicines
Management, School of Healthcare at the University of Leeds, and
colleagues published their findings online Feb. 8 in the journal
BMJ Quality and Safety.
The researchers noted in a journal news release that seniors are
already at increased risk for drug errors and subsequent
consequences because they often take several types of medicines and
metabolize drugs differently than younger people.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging offers
medicine safety tips.