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Journal Article > Study
Ralls MW, Blackwood RA, Arnold MA, Partipilo ML, Dimond J, Teitelbaum DH. Pediatrics. 2012;130:e1369-e1373.
National drug shortages have increased and emerged as a serious patient safety issue in the United States. Recently, a shortage of medicinal-grade ethanol occurred due to a temporary shutdown of the sole supplier. Ethanol lock therapy is used to reduce the incidence of catheter-related blood stream infections (CRBSI) in pediatric patients receiving parenteral nutrition due to intestinal failure. Although the details leading to the voluntary facility shutdown were not transparent, the authors suggest that it was likely due to the risk of an impending Food and Drug Administration inspection. During the shortage, the rate of CRBSI at one hospital rose dramatically, resulting in increased lengths of stay and hospital costs. This evidence illustrates profound financial and patient safety implications related to a national drug shortage.
Murray C, Rycek W, Johnson D, Sifuentes-Tovar F. Pharm Purch Prod. January 2013;10:12.
This magazine article details how one academic medical center used a collaborative approach and implemented policies and procedures to address perioperative drug shortages.
Talsma J. Drug Topics. June 15, 2013.
Discussing the current state of and efforts to address drug shortages, this news article notes a reduction in chemotherapy delays and reveals persistent barriers to improvement.
Journal Article > Commentary
De Oliveira GS Jr, Theilken LS, McCarthy RJ. Anesth Analg. 2011;113:1429-1435.
Several commonly used anesthesia medications are among the 140 medications currently considered to be in short supply. Data from MEDMARX reveals that shortages have been implicated in many cases of prescribing errors, often when one concentration of medication was substituted for the unavailable formulation.
Journal Article > Study
Impact of a drug shortage on medication errors and clinical outcomes in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Hughes KM, Goswami ES, Morris JL. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2015;20:453-461.
Drug shortages can result in safety consequences, as studies have shown a higher rate of treatment failure and increased adverse events associated with unavailability of first-line therapies. However, this study did not find any change in adverse events in pediatric intensive care unit patients during a shortage of commonly used sedatives and injectable opioid pain medications. The authors note that advance warning of the shortage and development of standardized algorithms for drug substitution may have mitigated the potential safety hazards.