Archive March 2018 XIX, No. 3

Are Prefilled Syringes Safer Than Ever?

Compounders are engineering safety features into their prefilled products.

Anna Merriman

Anna Merriman, Associate Editor

BIO

In a Rush
IN A RUSH Sometimes you'll go to grab one strength of a drug but accidentally grab another — new syringe-tracking systems help take care of that problem.

Prefilled syringes have always been a safe, economic and convenient way to administer medications. Now they're even safer, thanks to clearer labels, high-tech tracking capabilities and tamper-proof caps that lower risks of medication errors, cross-contamination and drug diversion. Check out the following safety-minded features found on prefilled syringes that have been designed to help you deliver the right dose of the right drug to the right patient every time.

1. Syringe tracking

Consider this scenario: One of your compounders has recalled 1 lot of a 10 ml, 25% dextrose syringe because of a testing issue, and now your facility needs to pull it from your stock. Wouldn't it be nice to know exactly how many syringes from that specific lot you have and where they are in your inventory? Take that one step further — what if you could identify every patient who had already received the dextrose injection and inform them that the lot is being recalled?

You can. In the past few years, some compounders have started producing prefilled syringes equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag on the syringe's label. You load the tagged syringes onto a medication tray and scan each tray with an accompanying RFID scanning system. In about 5 seconds, the system reads each RFID tag and uploads that information to special computer software.

The software tracks information about each syringe, says John Karwoski, RPh, founder of JDJ Consulting in Wenonah, N.J. That information includes everything from the syringe's lot number to its expiration date.

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