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A component of the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS).

SafeMedicationUse Newsletter

Tips for Parents When Medications Need to Be Compounded


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Medications are not always available in a form that's easy for children to take. If your child gets a prescription for a medication that isn't commercially available as a liquid (or other suitable form), one option is for the pharmacy to prepare the medication using a process called compounding.

A compounded medication is specially made by the pharmacy team for the needs of your child. Extra preparation steps are required, and there can be additional risk of errors. Parents need to know the benefits and risks of having a medication compounded for their child. recently learned about 2 children who were harmed because of errors that happened during compounding. One child got very little of the prescribed dose, and the second child received a 1000 times overdose. has the following tips for parents to help prevent medication errors related to the compounding of children's medications:

  • Let your prescriber know whether your child can swallow pills and the size of the tablets or capsules they can manage. This knowledge can help the prescriber to select the right medication for your child.
  • Ask if there are any other options available if a prescriber or pharmacist tells you that the medication needs to be compounded. Sometimes the prescription can be changed to a different medication that is available in an easy-to-swallow form.
  • Always talk with the pharmacist about how your child should be taking a compounded medication and what effects to watch for.

If your child is old enough to have a role in taking their own medication, read some extra tips on how to engage your child in doing so safely.

Medication safety bulletins contribute to Global Patient Safety Alerts

This newsletter was developed in collaboration with Best Medicines Coalition and Patients for Patient Safety Canada.

Recommendations are shared with healthcare providers, through the ISMP Canada Safety Bulletin, so that changes can be made together.

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