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June 17, 1944

Current Comment

JAMA. 1944;125(7):496. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850250036013

SAFETY IN PRESCRIBING BY UNITS  Deaths have followed too frequently the erroneous use of potent therapeutic agents. On numerous occasions The Journal has reported and issued warnings about drugs improperly used or misleadingly labeled and packaged. Preparations intended for use by mouth can be expected to elicit unwanted reactions when injected. Other preparations available in two or more concentrations are likely to yield trouble unless due care is exercised when they are ordered, dispensed and applied. One cause of many accidents is the common practice of prescribing containers instead of units. Thus, the intern and nurse are instructed to give "one ampul" instead of a prescribed number of grams or milligrams expressed in percentage if the drug is in solution. N. N. R. accepted brands of the local anesthetic procaine hydrochloride, for example, include 0.02, 0.05, 0.07, 0.15 and 0.2 Gm. tablets and ampuls of 1, 2 and 10 per

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