Emory Report
September 28, 2009
Volume 62, Number 5


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September 28, 2009
Children prescribed Tamiflu could get the wrong dose

By Ashante Dobbs

Medical and public health officials should be alerted to the serious potential for dosing errors in children prescribed Tamiflu oseltamivir due to confusion when trying to follow the medication label and using the prepackaged dosing syringe, warns Emory health literacy researcher Ruth Parker in the Sept. 23 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the article, lead author Parker and colleagues provide the example of a 6-year-old recently prescribed Tamiflu for H1N1 influenza. While the medication bottle specified dosage in volume units, the syringe prepackaged with the medication was marked in mass units. It required a complex calculation for the parents to convert teaspoons to milligrams to determine just how much medication the child should receive.

“It is critical that immediate steps are taken to improve the prescribing instructions for this drug in children to ensure its safe use,” says Parker. “We recommend that all pharmacies are instructed to ensure that the label instructions for use are in the same dosing units as those on the measurement device dispensed with Tamiflu (oseltamivir).”

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