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April 1981

Prevention of Medication Errors in Pediatrics

Am J Dis Child. 1981;135(4):384. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1981.02130280074032

Sir.—In their article, Perlstein et al (Journal 1979;133:376-379) discussed the potential for drug computation errors during newborn intensive care. It is unfortunate to note that the potential benefit from the pharmacist's participation was overlooked in their discussion. At our institution, pharmacy services to the pediatric and neonatal units are provided via a satellite pharmacy. The pharmacist routinely monitors the dosages of medications ordered by physicians for these patients and, in addition, provides drug information to the pediatric staff.

We are presently conducting a prospective study to quantitate the types of dosage errors prevented as a result of the pharmacist's clinical services in a 32-bed pediatric unit and a 30-bed neonatal unit staffed by residents and staff neonatologists. The pharmacist calculates the ordered drug dosage on a weight basis (milligrams per kilogram per day) and compares it with the dosage range recommended in the current literature. When the calculated dosage