english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2006 > Oral medicine syringes graduated by weight: not such a good idea after all

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Oral medicine syringes graduated by weight:
not such a good idea after all

Syringes graduated according to the child's weight seem convenient, but they are a source of error. It is time to promote more reliable systems.

Oral medicine syringes graduated by weight (often used in paediatrics) seem convenient to use, but they also have major drawbacks: their use can lead to automatic prescriptions according to weight (dosage regimen not adapted to the patient's condition); instructions for use of the syringe are sometimes unclear; losing sight of the total quantity prescribed by the doctors and administered by the parents (risk of overdose).

Primalan° syrup (mequitazine) includes a syringe graduated by weight and is thought to have been the cause of ten cases of overdose. The French regulatory agency has had this syringe withdrawn from the market.

This points once more to the enormous role of drugs packaging, which is crucial to appropriate drug use (both convenience and the proper patient information). Drugs regulatory agencies attach too little importance to packaging and give pharmaceutical companies too little encouragement to improve it. The Primalan° case should cause the French agency to change its tune.

©Prescrire July 2006

Source: "En finir avec les seringues graduées" Rev Prescrire 2006 ; 26 (273) : 419.

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