Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Doctors May Be Giving Wrong Dosage Of Adrenaline In An Emergency Because Of Labelling

Date:
January 3, 2008
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Doctors treating life-threatening emergencies such as allergy attacks may give the wrong dosage of adrenaline (epinephrine) because of confusing labeling. The amount of adrenaline contained in an ampoule is usually expressed as both a dose and a ratio on the label. The ratio requires doing arithmetic to figure out how much drug to give.

A new study by Cambridge University reveals that doctors treating life-threatening emergencies such as allergy attacks may give the wrong dosage of adrenaline (epinephrine) because of confusing labelling.

Related Articles


Adrenaline is stored in salt water in glass ampoules which are broken open when the drug is needed. The amount of adrenaline contained in the ampoule is usually expressed as both a dose (1 mg of the drug per 1 mL of salt water) and a ratio (1 part drug for every 1000 parts of salt water) on the label.

The ratio requires doing arithmetic to figure out how much drug to give. Therefore, doctors understand doses much better (and quicker) than ratios. Dr Daniel Wheeler at the University of Cambridge concluded from his research that having to do extra calculations to figure out how much adrenaline to give a person in an emergency might lead to the errors and delays which are common in administering the drug.

Dr Wheeler said: "It is well documented that patients are commonly given the wrong dosage of adrenaline."

In order to determine whether the labelling was indeed the cause of the high number of dosing errors, the researchers set up mock scenarios. They programmed a medical mannequin to look like it was having a life-threatening allergic reaction. They then gave the doctors ampoules of adrenaline and told them to treat the emergency.

One half of the doctors were randomly assigned to ampoules with labels that had the adrenaline dose. The other half were randomly assigned to ampoules with labels that had the amount of adrenaline expressed as a ratio. The researchers then measured the amount of drug the doctors gave and how long it took them to give it.

All but 2 doctors out of 14 whose ampoules with labels that expressed the amount of adrenaline as a ratio overdosed their patients. Because they had to figure out how much drug to give, the doctors using ampoules labeled with a ratio also took about 1.5 minutes longer to give it.

"The findings might be different if the doctors had to treat a real person. In reality, the labels have doses and ratios, not one or the other," said Dr Wheeler. "However, this does give us insight into the problem and a fairly easy solution -- expressing drug concentrations exclusively as doses we believe would improve patient safety."

'The Effect of Drug Concentration Expression on Epinephrine Dosing Errors' will be published in the 1 January 2008 edition of Annals of Internal Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "Doctors May Be Giving Wrong Dosage Of Adrenaline In An Emergency Because Of Labelling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080101093858.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2008, January 3). Doctors May Be Giving Wrong Dosage Of Adrenaline In An Emergency Because Of Labelling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080101093858.htm
University of Cambridge. "Doctors May Be Giving Wrong Dosage Of Adrenaline In An Emergency Because Of Labelling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080101093858.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins