Parents can dose liquid medication accurately

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Objective. To determine whether parental errors in dosing liquid medication can be decreased through education. Design. Randomized convenience sample stratified to three study groups. Setting. General pediatric clinic, largely indigent and Latino. Patients. A total of 45 English-speaking and 45 Spanish-speaking children diagnosed with otitis media and treated with an antibiotic suspension. Intervention. Group 1 patients received the prescription and verbal instructions. Group 2 patients received the prescription and a syringe, then the correct dose was demonstrated. Group 3 patients received the prescription, a syringe with a line marked at the correct dose, and a demonstration. After returning from the pharmacy, parents administered the medication under observation. Parents in group 1 used a dispensing device similar to that planned for home use. The other groups used the syringe. After observation but before discharge, everyone received a syringe with a line marked at the correct dose. Patients were seen again at ~1 month, and parents demonstrated how much medication they had administered. Main Outcome Measure. Percent of parents who administered the correct dose. Results. Patients in group 1 received between 32% and 147% of the correct dose, with only 11 of 30 (37%) receiving the correct dose (±0.2 mL). In group 2, 25 of 30 (83%) parents administered the correct dose, and in group 3, 30 of 30 (100%) gave the correct dose. Simultaneous logistic regression indicated that accuracy of dosage differed across instructional groups and language. At follow-up, 23 of 26 parents demonstrated the correct dose. Conclusion. Education can decrease medication dosing errors made by both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking parents. Effectiveness was also shown at follow-up.

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