Measuring the Dose of Liquid Medicines

Measuring the Dose of Liquid Medicines (11)

 

Friday, 21 February 2014 03:18

Safety Tips When Measuring Doses 6

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Immediately replace the cap after measuring liquid medicine. Be sure child-resistant caps are locked into place after use. If using an oral syringe with a special ribbed adapter (shaped like a Christmas tree) that allows the medicine to be drawn directly from the bottle (Figure 2), remove the adapter and replace the child-resistant cap on the bottle since the adapter is not child-resistant.
Friday, 21 February 2014 03:17

Safety Tips When Measuring Doses 5

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Look at the liquid medicine at eye level when measuring a dose in a dosing cup or dosing spoon. If possible, measure on a flat surface, bending down to read the liquid volume if possible. Otherwise, hold the dosing cup or spoon up at eye level to read the volume.
Friday, 21 February 2014 03:17

Safety Tips When Measuring Doses 4

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Never read medicine labels or measure liquid medicines in a dimly lit or dark room, or when you are very tired or distracted.
Friday, 21 February 2014 03:16

Safety Tips When Measuring Doses 3

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Know a child's current weight before administering OTC liquid medicine to a child. The most accurate dose is based on the child's weight, not age. Tables are often provided on the medicine label to help select the proper dose according to the child's weight.
Friday, 21 February 2014 03:15

Safety Tips When Measuring Doses 2

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Use only the device that comes with the OTC medicine. These are marked with the measurements you need to prepare a dose accurately. If a dosing device does not come with the product, or you have misplaced the device, ask a pharmacist to recommend one. Never use a device supplied with one medicine for a different medicine. This can lead to dosing errors.
Friday, 21 February 2014 03:13

Safety Tips When Measuring Doses 1

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Never use a household teaspoon or tablespoon to give liquid medicines. They are inaccurate and may deliver more or less medicine than prescribed. Today's OTC liquid medicines almost always come with their own measuring devices.
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!

Reference
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.

 

dosing cup with markings Figure 1. Using this dosing cup, a parent mistakenly thought the "12.5" mL marking was a "12.5 mg" marking.

A doctor told the father of a 5-year-old child with a bad cold to give his child diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to help decrease swelling and inflammation in his airway. The father purchased a store brand diphenhydramine, which contained 12.5 mg in 5 mL of the medicine. The medicine came with a dosing cup. The dose listed on the medicine label for children less than 6 years old was 1 to 2 teaspoons, which equaled 12.5 mg to 25 mg. The dosing cup had markings on it for both teaspoons (tsp) and milliters (mL) (Figure 1). Halfway up, the cup was marked with 12.5 mL. The father thought this marking measured 12.5 mg, not 12.5 mL. He poured out a dose to the 12.5 mL marking, but the correct volume of medicine he should have poured out was 5 mL (1 teaspoon) to 10 mL (2 teaspoons). The father was about to give 12.5 mL of the medicine to his son, which would have equaled 31.25 mg of the medicine. This dose is too large for a 5-year-old child. Fortunately, the father realized the mistake and gave his child the correct dose (5 mL, 1 teaspoon).

MeasureDoseApproximately 7 in 10 people fail to measure a dose of liquid medicine correctly, particularly common when using a dosing cup or dosing spoon rather than an oral syringe or dropper. Mix-ups are frequent between milligrams (mg)—the dose of the medicine—and milliliters (mL)—the volume of medicine to measure out. Learn more about how dosing errors happen and how to give your child the right dose of medicine by following the safety tips in this section. And then, test your knowledge with a Quick Quiz during which you will be asked how much liquid medicine is in various measuring devices such as a dosing cup, dropper, oral syringes, and others.

  • Never use a household teaspoon or tablespoon to give liquid medicines. They are inaccurate and may deliver more or less medicine than prescribed. Today's over-the counter (OTC) liquid medicines almost always come with their own measuring devices.
  • Use only the device that comes with the OTC medicine. These are marked with the measurements you need to prepare a dose accurately. If a dosing device does not come with the product, or you have misplaced the device, ask a pharmacist to recommend one. Never use a device supplied with one medicine for a different medicine. This can lead to dosing errors.
  • Know a child's current weight before administering OTC liquid medicine to a child. The most accurate dose is based on the child's weight, not age. Tables are often provided on the medicine label to help select the proper dose according to the child's weight.
  • Never read medicine labels or measure liquid medicines in a dimly lit or dark room, or when you are very tired or distracted. Always turn on the light (and put on your glasss, if used) when preparing any medicine).
  • Look at the liquid medicine at eye level when measuring a dose in a dosing cup or dosing spoon. If possible, measure on a flat surface, bending down to read the liquid volume. Otherwise, hold the dosing cup or spoon up at eye level to read the volume.
  • adapters
    Immediately replace the cap after measuring liquid medicine. Be sure child-resistant caps are locked into place after use—you should hear a clicking sound if the medicine has a locking cap that turns. If using an oral syringe with a special ribbed adapter ( Figure 1 ) that allows the medicine to be drawn directly from the bottle, remove the adapter and replace the child-resistant cap on the bottle since the adapter is not child-resistant. Never store the syringe on the adapter ( Figure 2 — ) storage this way is also not child-resistant.

  • adult and child cough store seperateStore adult and child preparations of liquid medicines in separate areas. This will decrease the chance of accidentally confusing the containers with one another. Make sure all medicine is stored up and away and out of reach of children.
  • Wash the dosing device after giving the medicine. If you don't, potentially harmful bacteria can grow on it. If you wash a dosing device immediately before administration, be sure to dry it well. Leaving liquid residue on the device can interfere with dosing accuracy.
  • dosing device storage
    Store both the medicine and dosing device together. An oral syringe can be attached to a bottle with a rubber or elastic band www.keepadose.com
    (Figure 1), or a dosing cup can usually be placed over the cap (Figure 2). This way you will always have the correct measuring device on hand when you need it.
  • pouring back
    If you overfill a cup or dosing syringe when measuring, discard the excess medicine down the sink. Don't try to pour any excess or unused medicine back into the container. Doing so will contaminate the medicine that is left in the container.
  • Don't combine more than one liquid medicine in a dosing device at the same time. Doing so makes it hard to measure out the correct dose for each medicine. Measure each medicine in a separate dosing device.
  • Don't combine any medicine with food or a drink unless product label specifically says it is okay.