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Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Medication Safety Alerts. January 3, 2022.

Emerging care practices can produce unsafe situations due to the newness of the approaches involved. This alert highlights safety considerations with an oral antiretroviral COVID treatment that include medication administration problems. Safety recommendations are provided for prescribers and pharmacists.
Haque H, Alrowily A, Jalal Z, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2021;43:1693-1704.
While direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) are considered safer than warfarin, DOAC-related medication errors still occur. This study assesses the frequency, type, and potential causality of DOAC-related medication errors and the nature of clinical pharmacist intervention. Active, rather than latent, failures contributed to most errors.
McGaughey J, Fergusson DA, Van Bogaert P, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;11:CD005529.
Rapid response systems (RRS) and early warning systems (EWS) are designed to detect patient deterioration and prevent cardiac arrest, transfer to the intensive care unit, or death. This review updates the authors’ review published in 2007. Eleven studies representing patients in 282 hospitals were reviewed to determine the effect of RRS or EWS on patient outcomes.

Uttaro E, Zhao F, Schweighardt A. Int J Pharm Compd. 2021;25(5):364-371. 

Medication administration, particularly when it involves drug formulation manipulation, is a complex process. This study analyzed the products included on the Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ (ISMP) ‘Do Not Crush List’ and found that many presented no risk or low risk for crushing. The authors provide recommendations for clinicians to aid in clinical decision-making regarding crushing, such as suitable personal protective equipment and prompt administration.
Wallis KA, Elley CR, Moyes SA, et al. BJGP Open. 2022;6:BJGPO.2021.0129.
Common high-risk medications such as antiplatelets and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have the potential to cause serious patient harm. This randomized trial examined the usefulness of an existing intervention to support safer prescribing in general practice to improve safe high-risk prescribing.

Bekes JL, Sackash CR, Voss AL, et al. AANA J. 2021;89(4):319-324.

Pediatric medication errors during anesthesia can lead to significant harm and are largely preventable. This review identifies several themes around medication errors including dosing and incorrect medication. Successful error reduction strategies, such as standardized labeling and pre-filled syringes, are also described.
Leibner ES, Baron EL, Shah RS, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e810-e815.
During the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapid redeployment of noncritical care healthcare staff was necessary to meet the unprecedented number of patients needing critical care. A New York health system developed a multidisciplinary simulation training program to prepare the redeployed staff for new roles in the intensive care unit (ICU). The training included courses on management of a patient with acute decompensation with COVID-19, critical care basics for the non-ICU provider, and manual proning of a mechanically ventilated patient.
Renaudin P, Coste A, Audurier Y, et al. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2021;129:504-509.
Pharmacists play an essential role in medication safety through practices such as medication reconciliation and best possible medication history. This observational study found that 20% of patients presenting to surgical units at one French hospital over a two-month period had a medication error. Pharmacists intervened and resolved medication errors related to untreated indications, subtherapeutic dosages, and prescriptions without an indication.
Schlichtig K, Dürr P, Dörje F, et al. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2021;110:1075-1086.
Building on prior research, this study found that medication errors are common in patients starting new oral anticancer therapy. Nearly two-thirds of these medication errors involved concomitantly administered medications (e.g., other prescribed drugs, over-the-counter medications).

A 78-year-old woman with macular degeneration presented for a pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) with an eye block. At this particular hospital, eye cases under MAC are typically performed with an eye block by the surgeon after the anesthesiologist has administered some short-acting sedation, commonly with remifentanil. On this day, there was a shortage of premixed remifentanil and the resident – who was unfamiliar with the process of drug dilution – incorrectly diluted the remifentanil solution.

Gregory H, Cantley M, Calhoun C, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2021;46:266-270.
Medication safety continues to be a challenge in most healthcare settings, including emergency departments. In this academic emergency department, an overall error rate of 16.5% was observed, including errors in directions, quantity prescribed, and prescriptions written with refills. Involving a pharmacist at discharge may increase patient safety.
van der Zanden M, de Kok L, Nelen WLDM, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:333-339.
Endometriosis is a common clinical condition that is often subject to missed or delayed diagnosis. This qualitative study explored patients’ perspectives on the diagnostic process of endometriosis. Findings suggest that the diagnosis of endometriosis is hindered by delayed consultation, inadequate understanding and appraisal of symptoms by general practitioners, and inadequate communication between patients and providers.
Stuijt CCM, Bekker CL, van den Bemt BJF, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;17:1426-1432.
This multicenter prospective study explored the effect of medication reconciliation on patient-reported, potential adverse events post-discharge. Although the intervention – which consisted of a pharmacy team providing patient both education and medication review upon admission and discharge as well as information transfer to primary care – did not decrease the proportion of patients with adverse events, it did reduce the number of potential adverse events.
Blum MR, Sallevelt B, Spinewine A, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1585.
Older adults with multimorbidity and polypharmacy are at increased risk of adverse drug events. This cluster randomized controlled trial compared drug-related hospitalization rates of older adults who received a structured deprescribing intervention and those who received usual care. While rates of polypharmacy decreased, there was no effect on drug-related hospitalizations.
Hernández-Prats C, López-Pintor E, Lumbreras B. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2022;18:2748-2756.
Clinical pharmacists play an important role in ensuring patient safety, particularly in interventions aimed at reducing polypharmacy. This review focused on interventions involving pharmacists to reduce polypharmacy and inappropriate medications for patients with heart failure. Findings indicate interventions are most successful when specific guidelines or recommendations to assess appropriate prescribing of heart failure medications are followed.
Jaam M, Naseralallah LM, Hussain TA, et al. PLoS One. 2021;16:e0253588.
Including pharmacists can improve patient safety across the medication prescribing continuum. This review identified twelve pharmacist-led educational interventions aimed at improving medication safety. The phase, educational strategy, patient population, and audience varied across studies; however most showed some reductions in medication errors.
Fischer CP, Bilimoria KY, Ghaferi AA. JAMA. 2021;326:179-180.
Rapid response teams (RRTs) are intended to quickly identify clinical deterioration and prevent intensive care unit transfer, cardiac arrest, or death. This article summarizes the evidence included in the AHRQ Making Healthcare Safer III report about the use of RRTs to decrease failure to rescue. Although utilization is widespread, the authors conclude that definitive evidence that RRTs are associated with reduced rates of failure to rescue is inconclusive. The authors note that evidence does support that RRTs are associated with reduced secondary outcomes, such as ICU transfer rate and cardiac arrest.
Evans S, Green A, Roberson A, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:151-156.
A lack of situational awareness can lead to delayed recognition of patient deterioration. This children’s hospital developed and implemented a situational awareness framework designed to decrease emergency transfers to the intensive care unit (ICU). The framework included both objective and subjective criteria. By identifying patients at increased risk of clinical deterioration (“watcher status”) and use of the framework, recognition of deterioration occurred sooner and resulted in fewer emergency transfers to the ICU.