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Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Aug;55(4):593-9. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis491. Epub 2012 May 18.

Antiretroviral medication errors remain high but are quickly corrected among hospitalized HIV-infected adults.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, 19104, USA.



Antiretroviral therapy (ART) medication errors can lead to drug resistance, treatment failure, and death. Prior research suggests that ART medication errors are on the rise in US hospitals. This analysis provides a current estimate of inpatient antiretroviral prescribing errors.


Retrospective review of medication orders during the first 48 hours of hospitalization for patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection admitted to the Johns Hopkins Hospital between 1 January and 31 December 2009. Errors were classified as (1) incomplete regimen, (2) incorrect dosage, (3) incorrect schedule, and (4) nonrecommended drug-drug combinations. Multivariable regression was used to identify factors associated with errors.


A total of 702 admissions occurred in 2009. Of these, 380 had ART medications prescribed on the first day and 308 on the second day of hospitalization. A total of 145 ART medication errors in 110 admissions were identified on the first day (29%), and 22 errors were identified in 21 admissions on the second day (7%). The most common errors were incomplete regimen and incorrect dosage or schedule. Protease inhibitors accounted for the majority of dosing and scheduling errors (71%-73%). Compared with patients admitted to the HIV/AIDS service, those admitted to surgical services were at increased risk of errors (adjusted odds ratio, 3.10; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-8.18).


ART medication errors are common among hospitalized HIV-infected patients on the first day of admission, but most are corrected within 48 hours. Interventions are needed to safeguard patients and prevent serious complications of ART medication errors especially during the first 24 hours of hospitalization.

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