What you Should Know about Unit Dosing
The unit dosing system is done in place of all dosage forms which provide patient-specific and individually packaged medications to minimize nurse/caregiver manipulation of the drug. It is a pharmacy-coordinated method of controlling and dispensing medications in health and medical institutions.
In this practice, medications are dispensed in a package ready to be administered to the patient. These drugs may be administered either through oral, parenteral or respiratory route depending on the health condition of the patient.
Unit dosing sprouted from hospital pharmacies’ practices. These hospital institutions used to equip themselves with machines that readily pack and label tablets, capsules or pills. They also used to purchase equipment for packaging liquids in unit-doses.
As the unit dosing system gained its popularity, pharmaceutical companies such as MedX Pharmacy began prepackaging pills in unit-of-use form too. Although this system is still practiced at hospital pharmacies today, some hospital institutions already choose to purchase prepackaged medicines from pharmaceutical companies because of these companies’ efficiency.
Through the use of unit dosing system, institutions realized these benefits:
- Medication errors are reduced.
- Total cost for medication-related activities are decreased.
- Usage of pharmacy and nursing personnel become more efficient through allowing more direct patient-care involvement by pharmacists and nurses.
- Drug credits are minimized or eliminated.
- Size of drug inventories in patient care areas are reduced.
- Drug use monitoring and overall drug control are improved.
- Patient billings on medications become more accurate.
- Wastage and facility use are lessened.
Although unit dosing system could give many benefits, it is not amiss of any disadvantage:
- It will require more storage space and cassette cost.
- Pharmacy personnel takes more time in handling each dose compared to just sending drugs in bulk to a ward.
- It limits nursing processing and checking ability.
- Pharmacies would often need more personnel to finish orders as the system is labor intensive.
- It requires frequent ordering and such orders need to be placed periodically.
At present, advantages outweigh the disadvantages which the unit dosing system gives to both pharmacies and health care institutions. For this reason, it has continued to gain acceptance in various locations and it even paved its way to some Compounding Pharmacy in Houston TX.