Drug administration errors are no laughing matter, and they can contribute to significant morbidity and mortality of patients. Like many administration errors, they are also very easy to prevent!
Any patient receiving intravenous medications is at risk… and one way to mitigate that risk is to check compatibility of various medications that the patient is receiving. Intravenous medications can react with the carrying fluid the patient is receiving, or with other drugs that are being given in the line. Not all reactions are obvious.
The risk of incompatibility rises exponentially with each intravenous drug added to a patient’s chart. Six concurrent medications have shown a risk of 3-5%, while 10-20 drugs may have a risk as high as 45% (in human medicine). Keep in mind, in most human hospitals, there is a hospital pharmacist who monitors for these reactions and notifies nurses of potential concerns. In veterinary med, we rarely have a pharmacist that monitors for compatibility issues.
I have created various compatibility charts over the years, and even had it featured in Norkus’ Veterinary Technicians Manual for Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care (2019). I have spoken on the topic at numerous venues… it is something I am very passionate about, and have an upcoming webinar on the topic!
A compatibility chart should be available in any practice, and even more importantly, in every veterinary ICU that routinely delivers numerous concurrent medications.
This chart is new and updated for 2021, with 44 common veterinary drugs. There are lots of other charts, books and apps available, but none summarized into common veterinary drugs. The chart is created using the primary resources available; Trissel and King’s Guide.
If you would like a copy for your clinic, please go to my Store page!