RESEARCH PAPER
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 83-87

Prescription errors in cancer chemotherapy: Omissions supersede potentially harmful errors


1 Department of Pharmacology, Regional Cancer Centre, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
2 Department of Medical Oncology, Regional Cancer Centre, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
3 Department of Radiotherapy, Regional Cancer Centre, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER); Department of Radiation Oncology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Jayanthi Mathaiyan
Department of Pharmacology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0976-500X.155484

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Objective: To estimate the frequency and type of prescription errors in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy. Settings and Design: We conducted a cross-sectional study at the day care unit of the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) of a tertiary care hospital in South India. Materials and Methods: All prescriptions written during July to September 2013 for patients attending the out-patient department of the RCC to be treated at the day care center were included in this study. The prescriptions were analyzed for omission of standard information, usage of brand names, abbreviations and legibility. The errors were further classified into potentially harmful ones and not harmful based on the likelihood of resulting in harm to the patient. Descriptive analysis was performed to estimate the frequency of prescription errors and expressed as total number of errors and percentage. Results: A total of 4253 prescribing errors were found in 1500 prescriptions (283.5%), of which 47.1% were due to omissions like name, age and diagnosis and 22.5% were due to usage of brand names. Abbreviations of pre-medications and anticancer drugs accounted for 29.2% of the errors. Potentially harmful errors that were likely to result in serious consequences to the patient were estimated to be 11.7%. Conclusions: Most of the errors intercepted in our study are due to a high patient load and inattention of the prescribers to omissions in prescription. Redesigning prescription forms and sensitizing prescribers to the importance of writing prescriptions without errors may help in reducing errors to a large extent.


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