Look-alike sound-alike (LASA) medication errors in Thai hospitals

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Teeraporn Sadira Supapaan https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6887-8181
Jintana Napaporn
Ratima Ruthirakanok https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9402-7527
Sansin Srichathum https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8749-1660
Ananya Songmuang
Chonladda Pitchayajittipong https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6003-7145


look-alike sound-alike (LASA), medication error, hospital, Thailand


Look-alike sound-alike (LASA) drugs cause a high proportion of medication errors in hospitals. Drug lists available in hospitals are diverse and complicated. Presently, each hospital has its own LASA drug list and unique management strategies to minimize and prevent LASA errors. Objective: This study aimed to explore the prevalence of LASA drug lists, types of LASA drugs, and categories of medication errors in hospitals in Thailand. Methods: For this crosssectional study, questionnaires were developed and distributed along with a letter to 500 government hospitals (selected from a total of 1,309 hospitals) in Thailand via mail from April to June 2021. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages). Results: A total of 128 hospitals participated in this study (response rate: 25.60%), including 12 tertiary hospitals (9.38%), 33 secondary hospitals (25.78%), 24 large primary hospitals (18.75%), 51 small primary hospitals (39.84%), and eight private hospitals (6.25%). A total of 2,510 pairs of LASA drugs were identified, which included 1,674 (66.69%) tablets/capsules (Simvastatin 10-Simvastatin 20 pair had the highest frequency), 427 injections (17.01%) (Ceftriaxone-Ceftazidime pair had the highest frequency), 85 liquid dosage forms (3.39%) (Milk of magnesia-alum milk pair had the highest frequency), 74 special techniques in medicine (2.95%) (Seretide evohaler®-Seretide accuhaler® pair had the highest frequency), 49 external used drugs (1.95%) (Clotrimazole cream-Clobetasol cream pair had the highest frequency), and 28 powder dosage forms (1.12%) (ORS for pediatrics-ORS for adult pair had the highest frequency). Conclusion: Despite relevant awareness among healthcare professionals, LASA medication errors occur in hospitals. The most frequent similarities among LASA drugs were detected in their names/pronunciations, and the most common errors belonged to Category B.

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