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Antiretroviral Medication Errors High Among Hospitalized Patients With HIV

September 15, 2006

Darius Rastegar and colleagues evaluated the number of medication errors occurring among HIV-positive people receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy who were admitted to a single hospital over one year. The researchers reviewed the medical records of all HIV-positive people admitted to the hospital using Department of Health and Human Services guidelines to identify potential errors. The study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, finds that among 209 HIV-positive people admitted to the hospital, 61 uncorrected errors -- errors that were not fixed after 24 hours of entry -- occurred among 54 admissions, accounting for 25.8% of admissions. According to the study, errors in frequency of antiretroviral drug dosage occurred in 34 (16.3%) admissions; errors in combining antiretrovirals with a contraindicated medication occurred in 12 (5.2%) admissions; errors in the number of different antiretrovirals received occurred in 8 (3.8%) admissions; and 7 (3.3%) of HIV-positive people admitted experienced delays in receiving antiretrovirals. According to the researchers, HIV-positive people receiving HAART are "at substantial risk for antiretroviral medication errors at the time of hospitalization. More needs to be done to ensure that these patients receive appropriate therapy during their inpatient stay" (Rastegar et al., Clinical Infectious Diseases, 10/1).

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