Objectives The aim of this study was to describe the use of standard concentrations for continuous infusion drugs in Spanish neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
Methods We conducted an observational multicentre study based on a survey sent by email to 9 Spanish NICUs during January and February 2018. We collected data on intravenous drugs frequently used in neonates, and their preparation. Continuous infusion drugs with a standard concentration implemented in ≥2 NICUs were selected. An analysis of the concentrations reported was performed, and the rate of adherence to international recommendations of the Institute of Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) and Vermont Oxford Network (VON) was calculated.
Results From 69 drugs mentioned in the survey, 14 were included in the study, with all but one (furosemide) being considered high-alert medications by the ISMP. From the 9 participating NICUs, 3 had no established standard concentrations for any of the 14 drugs selected. In the other participating NICUs, dexmedetomidine was used with a standard concentration in the 3 NICUs which used the drug, whereas furosemide showed the lowest implementation rate (a standard concentration was implemented in 2 of the 7 NICUs which used the drug). In regard to concentrations adopted in the different NICUs, 80 variations were identified for the 14 drugs. The mean number of different standard concentrations for each drug per NICU was 2 (range 1–5). Adherence to ISMP/VON recommendations varied considerably depending on the drugs, from high adherence for heparin (2/3) and fentanyl (2/3) to low adherence for norepinephrine (0/4).
Conclusions The establishment of standard concentrations is highly recommended for continuous infusion medications as an effective error-prevention strategy. Nevertheless, we detected a low implementation rate in our NICUs and a lack of consistency in the concentrations selected.
- drug administration (others)
- IV administration
- medical errors
- health & safety
- clinical pharmacy
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