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Review Article

IJMDC. 2023; 7(12): 2047-2054

The nature of dispensing errors in hospital pharmacy; a systematic review

Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim Alnami, Abdulrahman Hussain Mohammed Otaify, Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim Alaajam, Ibrahim Zaid Ibrahim Hatan, Alhussain Mohammad Abujarrah, Ibrahim Yahya Hassan Muharraq, Shoaib Ali Yahya Moraya, Shoaa Mohammed Ali Abuhadi, Samah Ali Eisi Faqih, Faiza Hussain Ahmed Tawashi.


Medication errors can result in several unfavorable outcomes. Dispensing medication is the fundamental function of pharmaceutical care. Dispensing error is the discrepancy between the prescription and the drug delivered to the patients. The rates of dispensing errors vary in the literature across different countries and settings, and there are several forms and a wide range of dispensing errors as well as various causes. Hence, this review aimed to identify the prevalence, types, and causes of dispensing errors in hospital pharmacy by reviewing the previous studies that investigated this subject. Obtaining eligible articles required exploration of electronic databases, including PubMed, Scopus, Science Direct, Elsevier, Springer, and Google Scholar. The exploration process involved using search terms such as "Nature, Prevalence, Incidence, Types, Causes, Dispensing errors, Hospital Pharmacy, Hospitals, and Rate". The inclusion criteria were English original articles reported dispensing errors in hospital pharmacies published after the year 2016. A total of seven studies were included as they met the inclusion criteria. The studies were from six countries with a total number of prescriptions of 66,849. The nature of dispensing errors included prevalence rates, types, and causes of dispensing errors. Dispensing errors in hospital pharmacies are a significant issue that varies between different studies, even hospital settings. The major dispensing errors included labeling errors, content errors, and documentation errors. There were various factors that led to such dispensing errors, including a shift of work, heavy work, similar drug names and packaging, poor handwriting, interruption, a high number of drugs, and quantified drugs.

Key words: Hospital pharmacy, prevalence, types, causes, dispensing errors

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