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Technology (including: robots for production, Incompatibilities, drug production and analytics, CRS)
Safer labelling of prepared medicines: introduction of colour and graphic design elements to management software
  1. J. Alonso Herreros,
  2. J. Abellón Ruiz,
  3. J. Olmo
  1. 1Hospital Universitario Reina Sofia, Pharmacy, Murcia, Spain


Background Patient safety is one of the most important subjects today. The correct differentiation of labels of all products is one of the first steps in this objective.

Purpose To describe the introduction of colour and other graphic design elements into the labelling of prepared medicines to improve the identification and differentiation of preparations, and thus improve patient safety. To introduce label design management software in order to design labels to differentiate between these elements.

Materials and methods A cycle of improvement has been introduced in the pharmacotechnology area, initially identifying products whose labels could potentially pose a risk to the patient. Then colour combinations, pictograms and graphic design resources were chosen that allow their differentiation. Changes in the software were introduced using Microsoft Access.

Results The authors identified the following groups of formulations in which differentiated labelling would improve safety in use: treatment of drug dependence, combination eye drops for eye infections and dry eye, intravitreal and intracameral injections, dermatology and gynaecology preparations that may have a caustic effect. Graphic resources and colours were selected that facilitate the differentiation of the products within each category. For treatment of drug dependence labelling in the same colour as the prepared dishes highlights differences in dosage and active ingredient. In combination eye drops different colours were selected for each active series (vancomycin, ceftazidime or amikacin, voriconazole, autologous serum, acetylcysteine and cyclosporine). For preparations for intracameral administration combined colour printing and differentiation of the format of letters were introduced. Finally in the caustic products R phrases were introduced with corresponding R pictograms. Each model was created as a template tag in management software so it could be used in other preparations. The production schedule was modified so that the pharmacotechnology area can print labels for each preparation, automatically including batch, expiry date and other legal requirements.

Conclusions Graphic design elements are intended to facilitate identification of the product and improve patient safety. It is now necessary to incorporate this functionality into software management in the pharmacotechnology area.

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