Look-Alike / Sound-Alike Medications
A major cause for medication errors involves the selection of similar looking drug vials and prepared, unlabeled containers and syringes. There are many examples, including Propofol and Exparel… both used in the fast-paced OR, ICU and ED environments, which have recently become a subject of concern. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) are alerting healthcare professionals about the possible mix-ups of Propofol and Exparel vials and unlabeled syringes, noting that the long-held belief that Propofol is the only white milky parenteral medication in the surgical setting is now false.
The APSF, ISMP and the Joint Commission (TJC) have long called for any prepared syringe to be properly labeled if not administered immediately. Drugs identified and prepared with SLS are verified by drug class, drug name, concentration (standard and non-standard), dose, expiration date and time, diluents, and warnings to create an easy-to-read, full-color label. SLS helps prevent deadly vial swaps and unlabeled syringes, assuring drug selection by reading the parenteral container’s barcode, providing multiple safety checks during preparation, and then printing the preparation-specific, Joint Commission-compliant label that can be affixed to the prepared medication.