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Ability of Saudi mothers to appropriately and accurately use dosing devices to administer oral liquid medications to their children

Authors Almazrou S, Alsahly H, Alwattar H, Alturki L, Alamri M

Received 6 August 2014

Accepted for publication 1 November 2014

Published 22 December 2014 Volume 2015:7 Pages 1—6

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S72315

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou


Saja Almazrou, Hind Alsahly, Huda Alwattar, Lamya Alturki, Mona Alamri

Department of Clinical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Background: Most liquid medications are packaged with administration devices, which may be used inappropriately or inaccurately, and sometimes are not used at all. Because of the importance of their proper use for children's health, this study was designed to assess Saudi mothers' experiences with measuring cups, syringes, and droppers for oral liquid medications; to compare accuracy of dosing across these devices; and to determine the effects of mothers' education statuses and pharmacist counseling on dosing accuracy.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which mothers were observed as they used a set of commonly available dosing devices which are a dosing cup, syringe, and dropper. Interviews were conducted in the outpatient pharmacy waiting area in several tertiary hospitals and primary clinics in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between March and April 2013. Saudi women who were mothers of children aged 12 years old or younger and who gave their consent were eligible. Caregivers other than mothers and subjects with vision problems or cognitive/physical disabilities were excluded. We gathered demographic information such as age, number of children, and education status. Subjects were asked if they had had counseling on how to use measuring devices and which device they preferred. Then, the mothers were required to demonstrate how to measure 5 mL of paracetamol (acetaminophen) syrup using a cup and a syringe and 1 mL of paracetamol syrup using a dropper. Dosing errors were evaluated visually as overdosing, underdosing, or no error (if the dose was accurate). The data were entered into Microsoft Excel and evaluated using Stata 11.1. Logistic regression was employed to determine relationships.
Results: The results revealed that 58% of participants measured an accurate dose of paracetamol using the oral dosing syringe versus 50% of participants using the dropper and 51% using the dosing cup. In general, participants measured more than the intended dose with the dosing cup and less than the intended dose with the dropper. Furthermore, we found that dosing accuracy for each type of instrument was significantly influenced by the mothers' education status. Among the study participants, 77% had not had previous counseling on the use of liquid medication measuring devices. However, dosing errors were not affected by previous counseling.
Conclusion: Among mothers using measuring devices, the most accurate doses were found to be measured with the use of the oral syringe, whereas the most errors were made with the use of the dropper. Moreover, education status had a significant effect on dosing errors. The use of a pictographic diagram could improve the mothers' dosing abilities and, thus, reduce dosing errors.

Keywords: paracetamol, syringe, cup, dropper, accurate, education, counselling

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