FDA Warns Prescribers About Tamiflu Dosing Errors

Drug is dosed in milligrams, but prescriptions for most other drugs are in milliliters
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a Public Health Alert to notify pharmacists and prescribers about the potential for dosing errors with oseltamivir (Tamiflu for Oral Suspension).

According to a Sept. 24 FDA news release, U.S. health care providers write prescriptions for most liquid medicines in milliliters or teaspoons. However, Tamiflu is dosed in milligrams, and the dosing dispenser that comes with the drug is marked only in milligrams. Consequently, the FDA has received reports of errors when dosing instructions given to patients do not match the dosing dispenser.

The agency is recommending that prescribers write doses in milligrams if the dosing dispenser with the drug is in milligrams and that pharmacists ensure that the units of measure on the dosing dispenser match those in the prescription instructions. In its Public Health Alert, the FDA provided specific considerations for Tamiflu dosing in children older than 1 year, as well as a chart showing recommended doses in both milligrams and milliliters.

According to the Public Health Alert, "prescribers should avoid prescribing Tamiflu oral suspension in teaspoons. This can lead to inaccurate dosing. If a prescription is written in teaspoons, the pharmacist should convert the volume to milliliters and ensure that an appropriate measuring device, such as an oral syringe calibrated in milliliters, is provided. The dosing dispenser packaged with the product should be discarded."

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