Analyzing temozolomide medication errors: Potentially fatal

Nathalie Letarte, Michael P. Gabay, Linda R. Bressler, Katie E. Long, Joan M. Stachnik, J. Lee Villano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The EORTC–NCIC regimen for glioblastoma requires different dosing of temozolomide (TMZ) during radiation and maintenance therapy. This complexity is exacerbated by the availability of multiple TMZ capsule strengths. TMZ is an alkylating agent and the major toxicity of this class is dose-related myelosuppression. Inadvertent overdose can be fatal. The websites of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch database were reviewed. We searched the MedWatch database for adverse events associated with TMZ and obtained all reports including hematologic toxicity submitted from 1st November 1997 to 30th May 2012. The ISMP describes errors with TMZ resulting from the positioning of information on the label of the commercial product. The strength and quantity of capsules on the label were in close proximity to each other, and this has been changed by the manufacturer. MedWatch identified 45 medication errors. Patient errors were the most common, accounting for 21 or 47 % of errors, followed by dispensing errors, which accounted for 13 or 29 %. Seven reports or 16 % were errors in the prescribing of TMZ. Reported outcomes ranged from reversible hematological adverse events (13 %), to hospitalization for other adverse events (13 %) or death (18 %). Four error reports lacked detail and could not be categorized. Although the FDA issued a warning in 2003 regarding fatal medication errors and the product label warns of overdosing, errors in TMZ dosing occur for various reasons and involve both healthcare professionals and patients. Overdosing errors can be fatal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Volume120
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 27 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Keywords

  • Adverse events
  • Medication errors
  • Temozolomide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research

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