A compounded IV admixture is a solution of sterile substances prepared by a certified pharmacy technician for the purpose of administration to a patient through an intravenous route. Compounding is a way to create a medication that may be unavailable or in short supply. It is also a way to create a unique medication that is used for a small population of patients.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices releases safety guidelines for the preparation of compounded IV admixtures to prevent medication errors. In a 2011 study, the group noted a 9 percent error rate in the compounding of IV admixtures. This translates to one out of every 10 solutions compounded incorrectly and administered to a patient.
Guidelines for the compounding of IV admixtures are crucial to maintain the safety of patients in a hospital setting. Such guidelines include limiting the number of admixtures necessary for compounding, maximizing automation of compounding, using bar code identification systems to accurately select the correct substance, standardizing an effective auditing process and disposing of any IV admixture about which there are safety concerns. These improvement strategies should be integrated into any hospital pharmacy safety program in order to ensure safe compounding and delivery of IV admixtures.