How accurate are parents when measuring doses of liquid medicines

printed medicine cupFigure 1. Dosing cup with printed markings.
etched medicine cupFigure 2. Dosing cup with etched markings.

A study published in 2010 found that parents made frequent dosing errors whenmeasuring liquid medicines, particularly when using dosing cups.1 When asked to pour a specific dose of medicine using a dosing cup with printed markings (Figure 1), seven in every ten parents (70%) measured the wrong dose. When using dosing cups with etched markings (Figure 2), half of the parents (50%) measured the wrong amount of medicine. The results showed that the largest errors occurred when using a dosing cup.

Accuracy was much higher when parents were asked to measure a dose using a dropper, dosing spoon, and two different oral syringes. With these devices, 85% or more of the parents measured the correct dose. The most accurate measurements were made with a dropper and an oral syringe.

To measure doses of liquid medicine accurately, have your pharmacist show you how to use the device that comes with the medicine. To be sure that you understand, demonstrate for the pharmacist how you would measure the dose before you leave the pharmacy.

How accurately can you measure doses of liquid medicines? Take our Quick Quiz to see!

1) Shonna Yin H, Mendelsohn AL, Wolf MS, et al. Parents' medication administration errors: role of dosing instruments and health literacy. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(2):181-186.


Last modified on Thursday, 06 February 2014 19:35