Wrong dose of heart meds too frequent in children

Infants and young children treated with heart drugs get the wrong dose or end up on the wrong end of medication errors more often than older children, according to research led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center to be published July 6 in Pediatrics.

While the researchers found the highest number of errors among infants under the age of 1, they say children of all ages are vulnerable to such mistakes because health-care providers can manually miscalculate weight-sensitive doses and can misinterpret safe age ranges of adult drugs used off-label in children.

The research was partly funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Hopkins co-investigators include David Bundy, M.D. M.P.H.; Andrew Shore, Ph.D; and Laura Morlock, Ph.D., of Hopkins. Other investigators: Rodney Hicks, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P., FAANP, ARNP, of Texas Tech University.

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