Weight! Weight! … Don’t Tell Me!

      Weight-based, lifesaving medications are commonly used in hospitals and routinely used in emergency departments.
      • Bailey B.R.
      • Gaunt M.J.
      • Grissinger M.
      Update on medication errors associated with incorrect patients weights.
      Many weight-based medications are listed in the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) high-alert medication list. According to ISMP, “high-alert medications are drugs that bear a heightened risk of causing significant patient harm when they are used in error.”
      Institute for Safe Medication Practices
      High-alert medications in acute care settings.
      These frequently used medications include anticoagulants (eg, heparin and enoxaparin), antibiotics for septic shock (eg, vancomycin and tobramycin), fibrinolytic agents for stroke (eg, alteplase), and antiepileptic drugs (eg, phenytoin and fosphenytoin). Therapeutic management of these medications involves the use of a patient’s measured weight to establish an accurate dose, yet obtaining an actual measured metric weight (especially for adults) has been shown to be a challenge in this setting, as emphasized by the cases and literature review that follow.
      • Bailey B.R.
      • Gaunt M.J.
      • Grissinger M.
      Update on medication errors associated with incorrect patients weights.
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      References

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        Update on medication errors associated with incorrect patients weights.
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      Biography

      Avani Bhalodia is Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP*)/Food and Drug Administration Safe Medication Management Fellow, Horsham, PA.

      Biography

      Mona Hammam is Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP*)/Food and Drug Administration Safe Medication Management Fellow, Horsham, PA.

      Biography

      Susan F. Paparella is Vice President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP*), Horsham, PA.