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- Drug shortages
Journal Article > Commentary
Bruera E. N Engl J Med. 2018;379:601-603.
Well-intentioned system-level efforts to improve care can result in unintended consequences. This commentary discusses the adverse effects of strategies to address the opioid epidemic, such as tightened regulations that led to opioid shortages. The author highlights how the shortages of certain parenteral opioids can cause patient harm and describes clinical and policy suggestions to improve the reliability of care amid efforts to manage the opioid crisis.
Tools/Toolkit > Fact Sheet/FAQs
Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the University of Utah Drug Information Service; 2018.
Bartolone P. Kaiser Health News. March 16, 2018.
Drug shortages may require clinicians, pharmacists, and hospitals to divert from standard processes to address gaps. This news article reports how reduced opioid production as an approach to address the opioid crisis has led to shortages and subsequent patient harm, such as insufficient pain management for surgical, cancer, and trauma patients.
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.