Amgen slip-up dangerous, but dosing errors more so

by Anne Zieger on September 28, 2010

Pharmaceuticals

Dosing errors are a big threat

According to a new report in the Associated Press, giant drugmaker Amgen is recalling some lots of popular drugs Epogen and Procrit anemia treatments.  Why?  Because the lots include doses which could contain glass flakes.

Amgen says it hasn’t gotten any complaints about the flakes — which were created by the interaction of the drug with glass vials during storage — or at least not yet.

This episode kind of  makes one cringe when they think about taking any injectable drug, much less these two.  That being said, any consumer who reads a newspaper knows that human errors, such as administering the wrong drug or the wrong dose, are far more common than finding glass flakes in your injection.

In fact, one study by the Institute of Medicine concluded that incidence of administration errors is somewhere between 2.4 and 11.1 errors per opportunity or dose within hospitals.   Drug administration errors are even more common among children, since dosing is often based on weight and uses decimal points, according to a recent academic study.

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