Main Article Content
Background: Inadequacies of drug labeling have been frequently reported among Malaysian healthcare institutes, in which the Hospital Information System (HIS) is used.
Objective: To identify potential areas to improve the existing labels used for pediatric liquid medications.
Methods: This study was qualitative in nature, whereby focus group discussions (FGDs), face-to-face interviews (FTFIs), and onsite observation were used for data collection. Pharmacists stationed at three units (outpatient, inpatient and clinical pharmacy) of a tertiary hospital were targeted. Both FGDs and FTFIs were facilitated using a semi-structured interview guide, video-recorded and transcribed verbatim. All transcripts were thematically analyzed using content analysis approach.
Results: Thirteen pharmacists participated in FGDs, while five were approached for FTFIs. Data analysis resulted in four major themes: format of labels, presentation of medication instructions, insufficiency of information, and the need for external aids and education. Participants unanimously agreed on the need for enlarging font sizes of key information. Suggestions were made to use more specific instructions for administration times and pictograms to illustrate important directions. The absence of information about storage, stability and handling of liquid medications was also highlighted. While discussion mainly focused on improving drug labeling, participants consistently stressed the need for an instruction sheet and pharmacist-based, one-to-one education regarding medication instructions.
Conclusion: This study provides important insights into critical shortcomings in current labeling practice, underlying the need for developing a new label that incorporates a new format, additional information and pictograms for pediatric liquid medications.