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December 2010, Volume 40 Number 12 , p 14 - 14


  • Michael R. Cohen ScD, MS, RPH


Are positively worded important warnings on pharmaceutical products better at preventing errors than negatively worded ones? The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) says yes because the latter may inadvertently reinforce the incorrect information.The FDA recently issued an alert about niMODipine capsules, which should be given only orally or through a feeding tube. Giving the drug I.V. can have serious and even fatal consequences. To prevent this error, the FDA directs healthcare providers who remove the contents of a niMODipine capsule using a needle and syringe to label the syringe "Not for I.V. use." But the ISMP, while lauding the FDA's efforts to bring attention to this serious risk, suggests that labeling the syringe "For oral use only" might be better.Practitioners, particularly those under stress, may see only the "I.V. use" part of the negatively worded warning-especially if the syringe is partially turned or the label is otherwise obstructed, or if the "Not" or "Do

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