Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Save spoons for soup, not medicine

  • Print

CHICAGO -- The song says a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but a study says that kind of imprecise measurement can lead to potentially dangerous dosing mistakes.

The results, published online Monday in Pediatrics, underscore recommendations that droppers and syringes that measure in millilitres be used for liquid medicines -- not spoons.

The study involved nearly 300 parents with children younger than nine. The youngsters were treated for various illnesses at two New York City emergency rooms and sent home with prescriptions for liquid medicines, mostly antibiotics.

Parents were contacted afterward and asked how they had measured the prescribed doses. They also brought their measuring devices to the researchers' offices to demonstrate doses they'd given their kids.

Parents who used spoonfuls "were 50 per cent more likely to give their children incorrect doses than those who measured in more precise millilitre units," said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a co-author and associate professor at New York University's medical school.

Underdosing may not adequately treat an illness and can lead to medication-resistant infections, while overdoses may cause illness or side-effects that can be life-threatening.

Almost one-third of the parents gave the wrong dose; one in six used a kitchen spoon rather than a device like a dropper with millilitre markers.

Less than half the prescriptions specified doses in millilitres. But even when they did, the medicine bottle label often listed doses in teaspoons. Parents often assume that means any similar-sized kitchen spoon, the authors said.

"Outreach to pharmacists and other health professionals is needed to promote the consistent use of millilitre units between prescriptions and bottle labels," the authors said.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 16, 2014 C5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful book on the Friesens presses

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Canada send heavy military equipment to Ukraine?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google