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Standardised drug labelling in intensive care: results of an international survey among ESICM members

Felix Balzer| Nadine Wickboldt| Claudia Spies| Bernhard Walder| Jérôme Goncerut| Giuseppe Citerio| Andrew Rhodes| Marc Kastrup| Willehad Boemke
Original
Volume 38, Issue 8 / August , 2012

Pages 1298 - 1305

Abstract

Purpose

Standardised coloured drug labels may increase patient safety in the intensive care unit (ICU). The rates of adherence to standardised drug syringe labelling (DSL) in European and non-European ICUs, and the standards applied are not known. The aim of this survey among ESICM members was to assess if and what standardised drug syringe labelling is used, if the standards for drug syringe labelling are similar internationally and if intensivists expect that standardised DSL should be delivered by the pharmaceutical industry.

Methods

A structured, web-based, anonymised survey on standardised DSL, performed among ESICM members (March–May 2011; Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01232088). Descriptive data analysis was performed and Fisher’s exact test was applied where applicable.

Results

Four hundred eighty-two submissions were analysed (20 % non-European). Thirty-five percent of the respondents reported that standardised drug labelling was used hospital-wide, and 39 % reported that standardised DSL was used in their ICU (Europe: Northern 53 %, Western 52 %, Eastern 17 %, Southern 22 %). The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 26825 norm in its original form was used by 30 %, an adapted version by 19 % and local versions by 45 %; 6 % used labels that were included in the drug’s packaging. Eighty percent wished that the pharmaceutical industry supplied ISO 26825 norm labelling together with the drugs.

Conclusions

Standardised DSL is not widely applied in European and non-European ICUs and mostly does not adhere strictly to the ISO norm. The frequency and quality of DSL differs to a great extent among European regions. This leaves much room for improvement.

Keywords

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